Some of us still remember
when we could feed geese by hand,
offer them bread crumbs,
watch their snake-long necks stretch
to swallow our gifts down.
Some of us.
They came for the children first:
our waddle-footed toddlers
who trusted too easily, reached out
Dark-beaked, tongues hissing,
they beat their wings against us,
kick-slashed us raw and bleeding,
separated us from our young.
We retaliated. Gunsmoke stained our hands;
summer storms surged as bullets crackled
over avian pyres.
Yet brown-beige-black they emerged again,
stepped over their dead, marched toward us.
Get back! We retreated inside
and slammed locks shut behind us.
The wood of the door roughing our cheeks,
our breaths hitching, we scryed our hellscape
through tiny glass peepholes. We saw only
those gleaming pip-stone eyes
staring back at us.
Then, the shudder-boom shattering
as together they tore our houses down.
A creaking sign, wind-worn and sun-faded,
proclaims SLOW! CHILDREN AT PLAY—
the last reminder of the world we lost.
Now, only goslings remain.
—S. Qiouyi Lu is an author, artist, narrator, and translator; their poetry has appeared in Liminality and is forthcoming from Uncanny and Strange Horizons. A dread member of the queer Asian SFFH illuminati, S. currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with a tiny black cat named Thin Mint. You can visit their site at s.qiouyi.lu or follow them on Twitter as @sqiouyilu.