Mike Smith

Pocket Guide to Another Earth

 

There is a plant found there whose sprouted seeds,

if swallowed whole, will grow back out of you

 

until leaves clothe the body entirely.

(The plant’s deciduous, but weather there

 

is all internal anyway.) Because

weather is all internal anyway,

 

it takes thirteen willing adults to pro-

create. Argument is a fossil fuel;

 

the children learn to speak by forgetting

to eat. The people, though they do not trust

 

in land or sea, no longer use their wings

to fly. Instead, they rub them together

 

at dusk and dawn. The chirping signals fear

and a willingness to die. It is, by far,

 

the preferred method of self-expression.

Warning: Their gods visit often, bearing

 

gifts, which, if swallowed, grow back out of you.

Like us, there is nothing they will not do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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