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The first ones,

those who built everything

worthy of the name,

and named it,

better than we could ever hope to;

Those who built the viaducts that last,

not merely for millennia,

but forever,

or as close to that

as we could ever get,

and a little bit farther too;

Those who occupied every planet

worth having,

before anyone else

even got out of diapers,

who sucked the juice from the heads,

and stuffed the first mushrooms;

they probably invented mushrooms,

and maybe heads as well;

Those who used up fabulous elements,

making remarkable machines

that almost worked

when some younger races

heaved themselves out of the slime;

machines that don't really work now,

but if we could only get more

of those ultramundane elements

we could surely do something with them,

maybe just not as good.




An aether compactor by trade, David Kopaska-Merkel began writing poetry after witnessing the Ascension of Tim. He won the Rhysling award for best long poem in 2006 for a collaboration with Kendall Evans. He has written 23 books, of which the latest is SETI Hits Paydirt  (Popcorn Press). Kopaska-Merkel has edited Dreams & Nightmares magazine since 1986.  You can reach him via email.
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11 Oct 2021

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