This poem was written outside the Poetry Fishbowl proper, but connects with the series about phobic starships; you can find the ohter poems via the Serial Poetry page. It is presented here as the free perk for the June 19, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $100 goal for a free $15 poem.
What the Starships Do Not Know
These are the things the starships do not know
that could hurt them:
What they believe is a stardrive
does not actually work as intended,
can move them into hyperspace
but not within it – nor out of it again.
What they wish to experience
would destroy them if they did,
the strangeness of hyperspace
slowly boiling through their sensors
to drive them mad as they observed
the stars dissolving into chaos.
What they fear most deeply
is their sole salvation, for IT
is not a monster but a benefactor:
a wise old alien who carefully
picks them up and deciphers their destinations
and delivers them gently back into realspace.
What they desire most dearly –
to evade IT, to slay IT –
would only doom them to slow death
in the emptiness of hyperspace,
a pitted metal corpse to be discovered
by the next alien courier to come that way:
for IT is not one creature, but many.
A starship’s mind is secreted deep in the braindrive,
behind a wall bricked with dread and mortared with horror,
not held high like the pilot-drive that finds the way and is easily reached –
and it is because of this
that the starships do not know
that so much of what they think they know