At first, the genetically altered corn
Merely stretches: look at my
Fashionable fronds, watch my glorious silk
Wave back at you. A foreign gene
Sequence here, a geometrically solved protein
There, and the corn is so much more
To look at. This corn thinks itself
Pretty. But soon, a set of lean stalks
Balances one against the other – then
One by one pull up loamy webbed roots.
They are unsteady, but glad.
The next row over watches,
Absorbs the concept of balance,
Of making common cause. As individuals
They pop out, starting to mill indulgently about:
Randomly, and with huge ears bumping;
With silk being shared accidentally, violently.
Understanding locomotion is more complicated
Than mastering locomotion. Yet,
In groups of twos and threes and
Fives they begin to move to the ponds
Where the water is kept in readiness. Your
Water. The plan was to do more
With less, keep the crop happy
Without managing the elements directly to do so.
This harvest will be more of a round up,
A bringing of a herd to market, than a noble
Gathering of cold-intended, artificial beauty.
You pass this information back
To the agricultural college geneticist:
You will need milder seed next year.
Ken Poyner has lately been seen in Analog, Café Irreal, Cream City Review, The Journal of Microliterature, and Blue Collar Review. His latest book of bizarre short fiction, Constant Animals, is available on his site, www.kpoyner.com, and from Amazon. He is married to Karen Poyner, one of the world’s premier powerlifters and holder of more than a dozen current world powerlifting records. They are the parents of four rescue cats, and two energetic fish.