Before the Empire Goes Inter-Galactic

May 13, 2016


Ken Poyner often serves as unlikely eye-candy at his wife’s powerlifting meets. His latest collection of brief fictions, Constant Animals, can be located through links on his website at He has had recent work out in Analog, Asimov’s, Poet Lore, Sein Und Werden, and a several dozen other places, both in print and on the web.

Back in our quadrant of the galaxy,
Currently the most popular idea
For the advancement of our culture
Lies in conquering ever yet one more system:
At which point our galactic empire
Will be the largest we have ever known.

It is nothing personal.
We have no quarrel with you.

There are no demands, no tribute.
We do not need a symbiosis
With your feeble bodies, nor any place
Of our own
In the constituent steps of your
Precious, convoluted, and apparently
Directionless biology.
We do not need your world’s minerals.
There is no dark, dreary, ulterior motive
Wherein we are somehow re-establishing our own
Bio-diversity by surreptitiously borrowing
What is left of yours.

We do not need to supplant
Your crops, feed on your farm
Animals, or feed on you. No,

Ours is a simple quest:
We want to be one world larger.
So kindly deposit your weapons
In the convenient, and quite elastic, black holes
That have appeared suddenly in your neighborhood
For just such pacifying use;
And have your many legislatures
Add a brief sentence or two
About fealty and sovereignty,
Allegiance and territorial acclamation,
About bowing rhetorically to our star system,
To your existing national constitutions.

There is very little we expect.
We really do not get out this way all that often.
Our plan is to leave you mostly alone:
A limited, no frills system like yours,
To be honest, does not even fare well with our
Lately flourishing exobiology tourist trade.

But, if you need us, just press the button
Marked ‘Overlords’ on the executive desk
In any of your now uselessly differing capitols.
The connection might take a while, but, trust me,
The interstellar recorder will eventually pick up.
You can, when recording memory finally engages,
Leave a brief, specific message:
Then wait in distant wonder, and,
In a rotation or two,
We might get back to you.

© Ken Poyner

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