This poem came out of the January 8, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from thesilentpoet about a child finding an alien. It was also significantly influenced by my memory of this thread about a common Jewish worldview regarding potential threats, and by recent discussions of Jewish fantasy literature and identity on LiveJournal and on Dreamwidth. The poem has been sponsored by janetmiles. You can read about the Israeli government, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and his family online.
I think it would be fascinating to trot this prompt around the world, because the situation would develop very differently depending on the country in which the alien landed, based on people's differing cultural responses to the unexpected. It's one of those science fiction motifs shaped very much like a mirror.
The Law Was
We fired first.
It was not an accident
but an act of self-preservation.
Shmuel Netanyahu found the alien
while playing in his grandfather's garden.
His mother Noa leaned over
to see what he had found,
and saw a wrinkled little hominid holding
what might (or might not) have been a weapon.
She took no chances;
she yelled for her father.
Benjamin Netanyahu took one look
at the arm-waving alien
and yelled for his guards
and also a gun.
So that was the end
of the whole "first contact" incident,
which was ruled a success since
nobody died on our side.
We were quite proud of that.
The other nations complained
and called us uncivilized,
but if they did not like the alacrity
with which we have come to respond
to potential threats against our territory,
well, they have only themselves to blame.
It was a matter of natural law;
anyone could see that.
It was no mystery.
The law was:
kill or be killed.
Those of us who had survived history
had learned this lesson
very, very well.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, spirituality, writing
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