Size / / /

We're fomenting revolutions on alien planets,

you know they are so much less well-developed than we are.

Of course the women are buxom and eager,

the men brave, but they can't hold a candle to us

in the mass murder department.

Still, we'll shoot first and

we never ask any questions until afterward, questions

like what is this mysterious device in the desert

and what happens if I pull the

lever next to the big red button

on the front (of course it may have been the top

in the device's original orientation)

and will it alter the climate or dry up the seas

because it sure looks like there was some kind of cataclysm

here a few thousand years ago.

It seems like the natives' civilization took a nose dive about then

at a time when they very well could've built something like this

whereas now they can't even carve it out of stone

or dig a decent ditch.

David C. Kopaska-Merkel won the 2006 Rhysling Award for a collaboration with Kendall Evans, edits Dreams & Nightmares magazine, and has edited Star*Line and several Rhysling anthologies. His poems have appeared in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. A collection, Some Disassembly Required, winner of the 2023 Elgin Award, is available from him at
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