On Tarsus the rains come
once every seventy years;
great monsoons wash the surface clean
and all must be rebuilt.
The Tarsians drown their history
once every seventy years
and start Civilization anew—
all pilgrims, yet again.
On Faline the rains never cease
and homes, stores, churches are built
on great floating barges
that move across the waters.
The Falinites shout their history
from barge to barge, creating cities of listeners
that grow and break apart
according to the strengths of tide and tongue.
On Redline the rains are no more than heavy mists
clouding the surface with thick white fog.
All is hazed, shadow-faces and liquid bodies,
and light prisms into gray rainbows.
The Redliners write their history
with bright neon threads sewn into their clothing
and they walk the streets faceless in the ground-clouds,
living billboards of their own past.
On Eden 3, the rains come
when they are programmed to fall.
We live where we have always lived,
as did our parents and their parents before them.
We write our histories
in endless volumes of erudite criticism
and walk our perfect streets
dreaming of storms . . .