Issue 2, Spring 2007


Answering Ezekiel
by Kevin Vaughn

3747 A.D.    
Ezekiel, we break free of Earth’s gravity,  
  soon. You ought to be near the center ring.  
You’ve been fixed to that window for hours now.  
  Are you distressed, son, or just curious?  
E: Why are we leaving Earth, Papa?  
    Because it’s time,  
  Ezekiel. She cannot sustain us.  
E: But why? Is she angry? Have we hurt her?  
  And those things in the oceans, what are they?  
Ezekiel, I showed you every trench and peak  
  to be seen or touched in our dark world, but  
those ashen things are continents, the old nations—  
  republics of people once dwelled above the sea—  
E: Papa!  
  It’s true! History, but true. They plundered  
and squandered, Ezekiel. Their decay  
accrued—their air and water and bounty  
  choked them.  
E: What happened? Did all of them…  
Most died while we learned to reap the seabed.  
  Some sought to settle dark, distant bodies.  
When the only hands that could hew the arks  
  were refused passage, hope was spiked and sank.  
That rebellion urged us closer to Earth.  
  The seas were stripped, but gave us centuries  
to forge one race so deep beneath the surf,  
  we forgot the swirl of clouds. Drexciya’s cities  
pearled against the velvet drape of our great Ocean.  
  E: Why isn’t that in books?  
    There are texts, son—  
knowledge just hides best in print.  
    E: My teachers taught me…  
  Taught you to further the greater good, son.  
E: Who told you, then?  
    My parents—I listened.  
  This was taboo—when our eyes adjusted  
to jellies’ light, we had been guided by  
  the worst of us.  
    E: So, we became like them?  
Haggard, our reflection resembled theirs  
  until the mandate that every poet’s line  
and mathematician’s theorem would extend us.  
  E: Wasn’t that better, Papa—that they chose?  
You would think, but we married science and art.  
They chose competition. They clenched knowledge  

and science into a fist they worshipped

  in place of God.  
    E: Papa—now they seem silly and mean!  
Don’t be harsh. Who could guess a filament  
  runs through all things without enough quiet  
to search? Machines, cities were so noisy.  
  Somehow, they reached great age. The old were left  
to reckon with their young.  
    E: How old were they, Papa?  
Not so old as us. Ezekiel, come.  
Bid goodbye to Earth.