Once a Bird Going East Met a Bird Going West

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Once a bird going east met a bird going west
and inquired of what lay ahead
and the latter replied, “There is naught but the nests
of the old human race, who are dead.”

So they rested awhile and they looked at the clouds
and the grass, and the birds in between.
Then the bird going east thought to wonder aloud
who the old human race could have been.

“They were builders, like ants, but they walked on two legs,”
said the one going west, “like a bird
and I’ve heard it from some that they didn’t lay eggs
but I find the suggestion absurd.”

“I don’t know how they died and I thoroughly doubt
there is anyone left who would know
and I cannot imagine a way to find out
how it was all those seasons ago.”

Then they chirped their goodbyes and the bird going east
made its way to the city at last
and the tall, tilting tombs of those two-legged beasts
squatted silent and crumbling and vast.

It had no word for concrete and no word for steel
and no word for this forest of stone
and no word for the way that the place made it feel
very fleeting and small and alone.


James Hutchings is the author of five books of fiction and poetry. He is also the man behind the curtain for several games both virtual and real. You may find his personal blog at http://apolitical.info.