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Illustration by Nor Sanavongsay

They fling us at empires
When a cosmos needs to die.

Engineered by the best AI minds
Of New Lane Xang,

In the boot-tubes we sing:

"They'll never let us in,
They'll never let us in
To holy Himapan!
Not quite monkey, not quite man!"

In the future, true havoc needs more
Than a mere dog for war.

Laotonium shell around a simian soul,
Dropping through the sky, ready to die,
Armed to the bone with three strong hearts
Tailored for express mayhem and murder of
Your pristine social orders,

We close our eyes with time enough to dream,
Six hard minutes through the hot atmosphere:
Visions of fabled Dao Vanon, our own planet,
Our own Xaesar, our own books of law and liberty.

"Ape shall never kill ape."

"No spill blood."

The joys of Ahimsa.

A distant world keeping
All of your promises made to us for 400 centuries.

This poem has been published as part of our 2013 fund drive bonus issue! Read more about Strange Horizons' funding model, or donate, here.




An award-winning Laotian American writer, Bryan Thao Worra holds a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a professional member of the Horror Writer Association and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. In 2012 he was a Cultural Olympian representing Laos during the London Summer Games. His work has been featured internationally, including the Smithsonian traveling exhibit "I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story," the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Parnassus during the 2012 London Summer Games.
Lao American artist Nor Sanavongsay was born in Thailand. His family moved to the US when he was four years old. We landed in Kingport, TN. He grew up watching Transformers, Bruce Lee movies, Thundercats, and all of the great 80's cartoons. He also has a fascination with comic books and graphic novels. He began drawing at the age of six with his uncle as a mentor. He is author and illustrator of the Lao children's book Xieng Mieng: A Sticky Mess. For more information on the artist visit: http://www.nawdsign.com or http://xiengmieng.com
Current Issue
26 Sep 2022

Would a Teixcalaanli aristocrat look up at the sky, think of Lsel Station, and wonder—with Auden—"what doubtful act allows/ Our freedom in this English house/ our picnics in the sun"?
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