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Meter-wide glassine spheres
by the thousands
eggs of a mother long dead
bobbing on frothing waves
translucent, rainbow skin shimmering
from the glow of two moons
one green with life, one dead
both full on a cool night

The orange sun rises
heating the spheres
waking their passengers
hopping inside, forward ho
launch, smack, roll
magnetically driven
an iron neural itch
polar orientation
toward survival

Bouncing and spraying
attracting the Enemy
looking for breakfast
rushing up with spines
piercing, charged, emf blast
spheres explode
ripping fangs
churn bright blue blood

But close so close
the land the sacred place
and some few arrive
upon the sandy beach
their brethren gone
to feed the sea

The next phase clicks
shell hardened
days later
first cracks
smoke and flame
jade green serpents
malachite scales
golden eyes narrowed
belching birthing fire
on fuel that burns in water

They undulate toward the sea
glide into the welcome water
a threat no longer
remembering the Enemy
a smoldering racial enmity
prey and predator
role reversal
an eternal cycle

- Miguel O. Mitchell, Eye to the Telescope 42;

2022 Rhysling Award nominee, Long Poem category

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