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Interstellar Sport

by Ken Poyner

When you hunt the giant Batlbo
You have to go where it goes,
Follow its rounds and haunts,
Increase yourself in its territories,
Be within the company it keeps.
Deep, empty space will not be
The place you find one: no prey,
No sustenance, no life. You have

To bounce about the habitable systems,
Look for colonists or promising, unevolved
Energetic species, an apex biology beginning.
Look for the sign of its method:
The string of ruined civilizations, the busted
Orbits, the suns with more than respectable
Heavy metals. Follow the wavering shrieks
Of planetary extinctions. Be quick,
And you might get one, leaving
The destruction it craves, in your cross-hairs.

Or be better: get ahead,
Find a lonely civilization a Batlbo might likely prize.
Lie behind some outer, uninteresting planet
In watchful suspension, waiting for the monster to take
The busy bait. Then, when it is
Drawn blind into its own onerous delight with destruction,
Leap, plug your prize against
The wonderful ruin it works to create.

The lure does not have to be complicated.

Any small empire will do, so long
As the society makes enough ethereal noise
To merit Batlbo’s attention, seems to be worthy an extinction.
Shoot as soon as you orbit out of darkness,
Follow through with a mortal panache, then,
Claim your holograph trophy for this taken prize.
Start listening for struggling bait to lure the next.

Copyright © 2019 by Ken Poyner

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