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On the planet Ajabu

Swahili for “wonder”

The glowing globe fruits sway

Yellow mini suns

On branches green as jade

And just as crystalline

Reaching out

To offer bounty

A silent proffer

To flying gods


The tiny armored ones

Ascending with wings

Two small for Bernoulli's rules

Enchanted with mystic lift

Pierce each fruit

Drink their mead

And send forth dreams


The humans unaware

Insect pestilence they see

Bomb with toxins

Make way, make way

Your conquerors are here


The gods' bodies falter

Drop from the sky

Only shells for spirits

That leave and wait


The fruit





Sickly grey-green skin





Death vacations at Ajabu

Taking souvenirs

The merciless

The innocent

In equal measure


Til the sound of machines

The gasp of human breath

Is replaced

By the hum of wings


The gods return

And such a luminous prize

Greets them

In silent revery

Miguel O. Mitchell, Star*line 45.2, Winter 2022

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