When the others came

The newest problems brought back the oldest ones;
for all their nebulous fears about
what mutations might come
when depleted ozone failed to block the gamma rays,
no one expected werewolves
and trolls.

No one expected a scant generation
from the time a father’s admonition to
“Stick to your own kind!”
referenced race and religion
to when it meant shape, species and
location on the food chain.

Or from when the main concern
about a son-in-law was whether he had a good job
and not whether he’d turn to stone
in the sunlight.

And no one
(meaning no one over forty –
because one thing that hadn’t changed
was the tendency of the human species
to see our own kind as the default)
could understand why the kids acted
as if this were all perfectly normal.

To them, of course, it was.

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