Scoundrel Time

Letter To My Grandchildren’s Grandchildren

We went forth in pairs, born of women. We believed in a god,
or didn’t. We worshipped numbers, their primal power to confer
our place on the planet, the size of our intellect, the degree

of coolness or warmth in the air. Air was everywhere, enough
for both lungs. We slept on feathers, alone with our dreams.
We were allowed dreams. Children walked upright, unafraid of adults

who refused to beat them. We had bees, and people kept them, shrouding
themselves in protective garments. We attached great significance
to the geolocation of ancestors and to the shade of one’s skin which

could not be changed seasonally. From earth, we siphoned black viscous
fluid into great hunks of steel made to transport our bodies. When we were going
to where we were going, we appeared to be moving. We ate summer

berries in winter, spring onions in fall. We drank milk meant for calves.
Cats were smaller than we were. Oceans were vast and shimmered
with creatures who breathed through their skin. We ate them,

instead of insects, until they poisoned us. We never lacked for salt. Some of us
feared it. Others feared grain. We grew hair on our heads, and elsewhere too,
which can be found in the bristles of grooming artifacts. We fastened our dress

with ingenious mating of metal teeth. We paralyzed our faces in attempts
to simulate the appearance of youth. Water could be had with the turn
of a lever. We set food on tables. We set our dead in boxes and gently

tipped them into the earth. A moon waxed and waned. Sky darkened
and brightened with regularity. Set this down. It rained by itself.
Stones held the heat of a star called the sun.