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Let’s say you meet in ancient India,
in a dry, moondrunk field—just you
and pakicetus, a kind of rutty wiener-dog
from 50,000,000 years ago and yes,
you speak the same language.

You start by telling him about the sea,
how his descendants will become
aquatic zeppelins with five-foot hearts
who can swim beneath icebergs
and compose choruses of such beauty

that another species will listen
and use them to fall asleep.
How they will live out their whole
whale-lives in the absence of ground,
their fat angelic bellies floating

over the world’s greatest cemetery.
But pakicetus barely listens, his snout
resting between his paws, gazing
at the horizon: the breeze-bent grass,
stillness that stretches on forever.

Michael Meyerhofer is the author of a fantasy series and several books of poetry. His work has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Analog, Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and other journals. For more info and an embarrassing childhood photo, visit
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8 Apr 2024

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