Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Building Where We Are"

This is the linkback perk poem for the October 1, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  If you link to the fishbowl, make a comment and include the URL to reveal a verse of this poem.  If you link on different services, you can get multiple verses.

This poem came out of the September 2013 Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Perfectworry.  It also fills the  "Miles from anywhere: geographical isolation" square on my card for the Ladiesbingo fest. It belongs to the Schrodinger's Heroes project.

All verses have been posted.  Linkers include: janetmiles, technoshaman, DW user Chanter_greenie, freshbakedlady, siege, DW user Sylvaine, siliconshaman


"Building Where We Are"


The Teflon Tesseract
lies in the middle of nowhere,
a vast ring of hallways and tunnels
54.1 miles in circumference
and a diameter of 17.2 miles,
southeast of Waxahachie, Texas.

We have Alex to thank for this,
who is more or less made of money,
with her gift for quantum mechanics
and an unfortunate tendency
to break reality now and again.

There is little else in the vicinity
except blackland prairie
dotted with a few blue lakes.

The nearest army base is far enough away
that if trouble comes through the Tef,
they won't get there in time to stop it.
The same is true of calling an ambulance
all the way from Waxahachie:
if it's enough of an emergency to need one,
it will be too late by the time the bus arrives.

Fortunately we have Kay to take care of this,
an army medic mustered out but still
in full possession of her skills.
She kills what needs killing,
heals what needs healing,
and somehow gets us all home alive.

The Tef has a computer system
as elegant as a feather and
as sturdy as a stone wall.
It warns of incursions
from alternate dimensions
and protects our data
from interruption or theft.

It's Ash who supervises the computers
and writes the programs
in mysterious ternary code.
Her slim fingers dance across the keys
and cyberspace bows to her will.

Overhead the sky is pure ebony
studded with diamond stars.
The horizon is unbleached by lights
from town or base, nothing more
than a few blinking embers
to warn of radio towers.

This is Morgan's territory,
and she watches it nightly
to spot any changes
that might substitute
someone else's sky for our own.
The whole of the universe
fits inside her head.

It reminds us of something
that Quinn said once,
reading from a fantasy book:
"We have to build the Republic of Heaven
where we are, because for us
there is no elsewhere."

The men help too, of course --
Bailey on hardware,
Pat in the kitchen,
Chris wherever he's needed.
Tim the Tentacle monster
gets into everything, as curious
as Alex's black cat Schrodinger.

It's the women that make our team
special, though, for Alex is the head of it
and it's so hard to find others --
smart women, strong  women --
who aren't afraid of themselves or each other.

If we want to have the kind of world
that makes this sort of friendship possible,
then we need to start building where we are.
We can't wait for someone else to do it for us.

We are the ones who came forward,
when the door opened
and the world needed saving.

We are the ones who stayed here,
when the crisis was over and
we realized it was only the first of many.

The Teferact is our place,
a long loop of science and civic engineering
spanning the compound proper
and an expanse of scruffy grassland within.

We have a common room and a kitchen,
computer labs and personal quarters,
along with a quiet room for when
we need to recover from the crush of duty.
We have each other, too,
so we have everything we need.

It isn't quite the Republic of Heaven,
but it is exactly what we want it to be:
Team. Family. Home.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, schrodinger's heroes, science fiction, weblit, writing
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