Word Count 243

By Michael S. Jones

I am First Man among the People, though I am aware of other First Men and other tribes.
Each tribe calls itself the People or the Humans. Each city is the Navel of the World.

And just because my mind knows the impossibility of competing claims doesn’t mean that they aren’t true.

Previously we smiled, laughed, ate, drank and made love like all Peoples. We grew up and grew old as all do.

We sacrificed what we loved to our Spirits. Sacrifice is nothing if you don’t care. And thus the Spirits took care of us.

And then they turned their backs.

We called after them, but they made no sign of hearing. They departed from all Peoples.
Sun beat our crops to dust while Moon observed coldly.

And in despair we Humans fought to capture People, sacrificing others rather than ourselves.

Sacrifice became dilute, like adding water to porrage. They of course were not us. And if we cared little for them, how could Sun and Wind and Rain care more?

The Spirits abandoned us, and in their fury the People cast down the holy images. They tore the feather crown off my head and plucked the wiskers from my chin.

Lofty pyramids are thrown down. Our great city, our great lives, are ashes.

And now we hoe and carry muddy water from the river. We subside on withered corn.

I am First Man no longer.

Yet, still, we are the People.

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