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Poem: "The Texture of Our Relationships" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Texture of Our Relationships"
This is the linkback poem for the April 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl, originally hosted by DW user Dialecticdreamer.  It's spillover from the February 2, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was prompted by kestrels_nest and DW user Redsixwing.  It also fills the "nonhumans don't think like humans" square in my Wordsmith Bingo card.  This poem belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.  All 16 verses have been posted.


"The Texture of Our Relationships"


Aquariana understands that
something new is happening
in the Maldives with the people
who make up her team.

They come from different cultures,
even different species, but they are
coming together in one pod now.

It is strange to think of this, to feel this,
different skins sliding together and
communicating things which
cannot be said or sung.

It is difficult, even with telepathy,
even with Aquariana's water powers,
to convey such alien impressions.

What does it feel like to walk with feet?
What does it feel like to swim with flukes?
The air and the ocean are as different
in perception between whale and human
as they are different from each other.

Aquariana is a superhera,
and she tries to describe
what it is like to fight for
the things she believes in.

Moderato is a singer
and a dancer; he strives
to share the grace of the waves
but it escapes them more often than not.

Steel is a warrior,
bent to it by long torment,
slowly unbending now that he
has more trustworthy friends around.

Land is solid and sandy,
supporting the background of
Aquariana's life even as the water
embraces her more and more.

The colors that she sees are more vivid,
the sounds and vibrations thinner there,
the navigation mostly two-dimensional.

Water is fluid and subtle,
embracing the whales even as
they pay more and more attention
to the matters of the land.

They live in a world of sound and texture,
everything three-dimensional, what they
hear and feel blending with what they see
into one encompassing perception,
the way human eyes combine
two images into one depth.

Swimming together,
they are changing themselves
and each other in this new communion.

Through them, they are changing
the others around them who come and go,
whales and dolphins and humans and
perhaps more beyond those.

It is a skinship deeper than species,
to touch and be touched in these ways,
and they are coming to understand that
it is the texture of our relationships

which define us.

* * *

Notes:

"What's universal is the texture of our relationships. It's evolving. Times are changing with the women's movement. Men's roles are being redefined and, in some ways, they're confused."
-- Terry McMillan

While entertainment often focuses on interspecies romance, it's more common to find interspecies friendshipsDolphins and whales are developed enough to interact with humans in mindful ways.

In America, skinship is typically defined as "bonding through physical contact" or in Japan "closeness between a mother and a child." In Korea skinship refers to the point in a relationship where there is physical contact (hand holding etc).

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2 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: May 22nd, 2016 12:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I know it's dolphins rather than whales, but I thought this article might interest you.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 22nd, 2016 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)

*laugh*

Oh, they noticed.

Yes. Cetaceans who echolocate perceive the world in three dimensions, and when they speak, they aren't just describing things -- although they can do that too -- they are replicating the imagery. Same for whales.

It's why they don't have much concept of privacy. When you can hear through people's bodies and shout around the planet, keeping secrets becomes kind of pointless.
2 comments or Leave a comment