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Birdsong, Amber

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            I am young but in times of war, there’s no place for youth. My friends, my comrades have been long gone from my life—I’m not sure how long—left for a rock across the stars. I remember their faces, with the peace we hope for still clinging around their hands and eyes. The life we know now resembles little more than a shell of the past we once stood against.

            And here we—I— have come, finally, to your planet. I was told once, according to biologists, that the call of the mockingbird may contain preserved the song of species long extinct. I am a mockingbird in the thrushes to humanity, carrying with me an indescribable sound.

            So very long ago, I was born to an alt form, an heirloom of my own birth, that I pawned like a ring for a gun. I have left my footprint on millions of years of battlefields: the quiet first step of a scout, the first quiet step of an ever-morphing infection that I pretend I not to see. When we move on, I cast the shell of myself in the craterous fields. I grow too large for my body. I have known and seen too much and must shed the carapace of war. How should I grieve one match struck from the pack when our home is already burnt behind us?

            How should I tell you of our history? Of millions of years anger and continual expansion. To roll a cannon through the arterials of space and pretend you don’t feel the explosions. I arrive in the hearth of your planet, shift forms again, and forget my old face. One day I will forget this face too, and perhaps yours as well.

            I think I must have had wheels. I remember wheels. Or were they treads?

            I must have had wheels. I remember wheels.

            In such small lives, how do you remember yourselves, or your history? I have changed and lost myself so many times. I find myself still reaching out, hopeful for a light that one day may be permanent, not lost in bitter space. Wordlessly turning away from the rubble of the aftermath. Isn’t Optimus tired? Doesn’t the turning day after day start to feel like sinking?

           How do you live such rapid lives and not lose yourselves in them? You're never the same, even year to year. I don't think you understand how long a million years really is. Every day, wake up, strap on your artillery, swallow down your breakfast—half dirt, better than nothing—clean your rifle. Try not to die. Do it for a million years. 48 million weeks. 336 million days. Every day. Try to remember what your face looked like. When does it stop? How do you stand the grief?

            There are so many things I wish to tell you. The words I wish I could make with no voice. I’m mouthless in the eternal cascade of the future. Even here before you, humanity, I am as mute as a mourner at a funeral. I no longer race forward, eager that perhaps in this new theater we may turn the tides. I have only my footprints and a long-tethered dream of freedom for the Autobots.


I am not young any longer.