- We sleep through two of your centuries
- as methane ice, alive
- in the dreaming that is the true
- but unrecognizable to your machines,
- blank and dormant.
- Awake, in the quick warm time,
- we must retrieve the thought tendrils
- probing ever farther
- (never far enough to satisfy;
- we have only just reached you
- in our efforts toward our common
- and concentrate all our selves
- on our expanding bodies.
- We have no autonomic nervous system,
- and in heat every thought is of continuing;
- distraction kills us. We touch, we
- we mingle in osmotic ecstasy,
- on driving winds, in tortured storms.
- It takes all we are to survive
- what you'd call living, the active
- of growth and death,
- of purification and murder.
You would know us then.
- Please do not be deceived. That time
- is brief; we welcome rest, but yearn
- to move our minds again through the
- of vacuum, seeking warmth of other
- When the perihelic frenzy subsides,
- reorganized, resettled, we sigh
- into frozen sleep, we are free:
- hibernation brings liberation,
- condensation release.
- We fly from corpora safe
- in ice lattices, no longer enslaved
- by our own metabolic maintenance,
- to wander and to learn.
- Thus we met you, though you do not
- cannot hear us. We fear your large
- the terrible metallic intelligence
- propelling you toward us. You seek
- friendship at best, knowledge at
- Either way, you will destroy us.
- Stay away. We are here,
- like your trees, your viruses, here
- and not here. Your probes will melt
- our bodies, crack our skeletal crystal,
- the tenuous bond between here and
- we might never come home.
- Do not trample on the tardigrade,
- the hibernating bear. They are not
- give them the courtesy of attending
- their own deaths. It is a precious
- your heat and cruel unknowing steel
- We are so small and you are so young.
- Copyright © 1989 Terry McGarry
- Originally appeared in Star*Line, the magazine of the Science Fiction Poetry