Why We Left

By Ann K. Schwader

On their world, too, it grew: blue lotus

Thrust up from the fertile mud

Of memory & myth, from pools

That caught the morning.

                                        When we came,

They welcomed us, but understood

We were not gods, although star-fallen,

Tall & strange.

                         Our heads were ours,

Not ibises or cats or cattle,

Not jackals or that crop-eared horror

Who haunted deserts.

                                   The breath of chaos

Howled there like a solar wind

Too strong to ride, too wild to trust:

They clung instead to order.

                                            Balance

Built their lives of stone & gold

Imperishable, pyramidal,

Petrified.

          We understood

Perhaps a hundredth of their reasons,

But dreamed the rest one lotus night

Tinged blue with déjà vu.

                                         Next morning,

Tall & strange & fallen from

Our airless desert seared by stars,

We launched— & felt the balance tremble.


Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and Corgi-walks in Westminster, CO. Her Lovecraftian sonnet sequence In the Yaddith Time was recently published by Mythos Books. Her work has appeared in Mythic Delirium, Tales of the Unanticipated, Dark Wisdom, and elsewhere, and has received numerous Honorable Mentions in Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, and SFPA. You can find more of her work in our archives, in Strange Stars & Alien Shadows, Horrors Beyond, Rehearsals for Oblivion (Act I), The Weird Sonneteers, and Architectures of Night, or on her website.