On Discovering Extinct Species
“They were merely barbarians,” Kit sighed.
Kit lied, I knew.
If that were true, they’d have slaughtered
and eaten their daughters and sons.
Their guns would be treasured and leaders
measured by the size of their warships.
“They did not worship gods!” I cried.
Kit took me aside, away from the others,
and said, “I know you discovered this planet,
but damn it, bullet wounds in buried bones
alone should make you see.
No mystery exists — they were animals,
mammals in jeweled underclothing,
going headlong blind toward extinction.
Make no kind distinction between
these primates and other lower life forms.”
Torn between the heft of Kit’s truth and my pride,
I opened my eyes and we left. For all we know
eternal snows still cover their ruins.
ROBERT BUSWELL is native to the forests of northern Colorado and can be seen there in the late summer and early autumn months. He flourishes in direct sunlight and needs very little water. He typically lives 15-20 years in the wild, with a shorter lifespan in captivity.