By Kevin Rabas


We found a kind of vine
full of genetic code, something simple
full of patterns, and then it struck me:
This could be them, the Shem,
those peaceful ones here
before this world was burnt.

When the ships came like fire
and burnt the land, and took the metals,
and killed off every sentient in sight,
we thought they were gone, the Shem,
but here we have it, another code, another Word,
language of the body grafted into plant
before their world was burnt;
the Shem put their blood, their helix,
their genetic code into plant; their history
through the body, through the mind,
the muscle, the tissue, the skin and cell
they put into plant, this vine,
and in this way they hid,
quiet, in the darkness, as their world burnt,
then climbed into the light, green,
to reclaim everything they once had.

Kevin Rabas

Kevin Rabas co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State University and edits Flint Hills Review. He has published three books: Bird’s Horn, Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, and Spider Face: Stories.