The Neolithic era is behind us. In the opinion of the prosecution, the Flounder’s guilt has been proved. But before the sentence can be pronounced, certain material remains to be examined, especially the following allegations of the Flounder: (1) there were three-breasted women in the Neolithic era; (2) only thanks to the third breast were women able to repulse the male claim to power; (3) only three-breasted woman can possibly restore the matriarchate.
Och engaged the signal and listened with the rest to the bitter message from Earth. “This is not open to negotiation. You are ordered to return.”
“We are leaving,” he replied simply.
“We condemn your actions. Your assets are to be seized, everything you own on Earth.”
“We give everything we have left behind freely. It is all for you. Use it for the good of all.”
“Your families will pay a dear price for your betrayal.”
“We would like you to accept our departure, commander. What else is there for you to do?”
“Set your course for return or you will be condemned.” The radio went down.
“They hung up on us?” Dee asked.
Och nodded. “It’s like a bad break-up.”
What appears to be stubbornness,/refusal, or interruption,/is to it a simple privacy. It broods/its thought like a quail her clutch of eggs.
Mosses and lichens/listen outside the locked door./Stars turn the length of one winter, then the next.
Rocks fill their own shadow without hesitation. and do not question silence,/however long./Nor are they discomforted by cold, by rain, by heat. The work of a rock is to ponder whatever it is:/an act that looks singly like a prayer,/ but is not a prayer.
As for this boulder,/its meditations are slow but complete.
Someday, its thinking worm out, it will be/carried away by an ant./A Mystrium cammilae,/perhaps, caught in some equally diligent,/equally single pursuit of a thought of her own,