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Forgotten Colony

by Ken Poyner

There are years of grievances stacked there.

They have a history of being handed
The short end: they are now a culture
Of hand-me-downs, of repurposed
Broken parts, of salvage and stray garbage
Engineering. Years of getting only
Unwanted surplus has salted their planetary value
System. Terms like “fresh use”
And “unknown originality” dominate
Their literature. Exo-anthropologists
In secret, undercover missions,
Compete academically to circulate
Among them, teleport back to write
Degree-rendering theses about how
The colony became who they are,
How they unsuspectingly developed
Into this unimpressive backwater,

But more

About how we can avoid being like them.
We try not to call them colonists;
Occupiers seems more appropriate, given
The little progress they have made. Sure,
It is our fault they were underfunded,
But an outcome is an outcome:
Don’t go to the stars unless you are prepared
To be a bit forgotten, placed
In the order of things behind
Medical breakthroughs, World Peace,
The football game of the century.
Some have said we should re-establish
World-to-world relationships, tell them
Who they really are, the world from which
They actually came.
I say no. To them, even their air is broken.

They will expect us to fix it.

Copyright © 2020 by Ken Poyner

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