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To Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

When we knew that no more ships would come,
that the blue star on our skies
had brought upon itself the death it had
first given us, we came
out of hiding; and foremost
among us was me, Mr K
in my silver mask and my yellow gun
still humming with golden bees,
and I led us, the few,
to the side of the canal
where the last beings of the blue star
here, the last beings
of the blue star on all spheres
of the Sun, were
sitting and looking at their faces
rippling in the water. I
heard one of the old ones,
the tall ones say
“We are the Martians”
to one of the smaller ones,
and hearing those words all
doubt flew from me like firebirds
to the immense night-sky over
the deserts of Tyrr, our star Tyrr,
and gripping my gun
I let my golden bees go.
“No, we are the Martians,”
I said as they fell
into the cool waters of the canal.

Raimo Kangasniemi is forty-two. His nationality is Finnish. He has a master’s degree in history, and published one short story a quarter century ago. He has been a science fiction and fantasy fan since he learned to read.
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13 May 2024

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