Xenoaves

When humanity at last branches out beyond this terrestrial ball,

finding rest in the worlds around other suns, having grown too numerous or consumed all resources, or both,

will we find planets already bearing life?

Will we find sport in creatures too fascinated by us to fear us?

Will the modern frontiersmen, space pioneers and pilgrims shout with unbridled joy, making bloodsport of bringing down

avian monstrosities, large and light as zeppelins, called Avis cetacea by well-meaning, too-little-too-late zoologists,

remembered by the first settlers as Sky Whales for their haunting, thunderous songs?

These folks will tell their grandchildren wonderous tales of the hundreds-strong, thousands-strong flocks, making day to night,

as men with laser rifles strove to blow holes in the silk-feathered, singing clouds, until the plains of azure grasses turned a purplish scarlet

(“We all bleed red, in this world, too,” the grandpap says sagely)

and were draped with wind rippled bodies too big to do much with but stare at in wonder.

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