Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Shoals of Time"

You can thank new prompter [personal profile] siberian_skys for the second freebie.


"The Shoals of Time"


To the Pischa,
time is not linear
but liquid.

It is not
a pathway
that pulls
them along,
but a medium
in which they move.

For them, time travel is
not unique but ubiquitous.

They travel through time
like fish swim through the sea,
now shoaling, now schooling,
nudged by tides and currents
but always moving under
their own power.

The Pischa perceive
opportunities and
turn toward them,
sense danger and
dart away from it.

Sometimes an individual
moves alone, at the edges
of the shoal -- other times
several of the Pischa notice
something simultaneously
and all turn together, shoal
becoming school in one
flickerswift motion.

There are so many
different types of Pischa
that no one could ever
count them all.

Some come from
the shallows of time,
others from the deeps.

They have all colors,
all shapes and sizes,
but they all swim in
the same timesea.

Most live in harmony,
but some are predators
who push other Pischa into
harm's way to save themselves.

They are difficult to deal with,
and nobody wants to swim
with them, but it is impossible
to escape them entirely.

The best anyone can do
is try to shoal with those who
share their different insights
about opportunities and dangers,
a shoal of many colors confusing
whatever might try to hunt them.

The Pischa may not have hands,
but that doesn't stop them
from taking their chances.

* * *

Notes:

A shoal is a loose association of fish. If they move precisely together, that's a school.

There are many theories of time and time travel. One explanation is that (for humans) time functions like a temporal gravity well. When you're on a planet, gravity seems like something that sticks things to the planet; but when you're in space, gravity is what directs the motion of widely separated bodies and you can move around in it pretty freely. When you're incarnate, time seems like a line that you travel along; but when you're incorporeal, you can perceive time as globular instead. It is your body that creates the illusion of linear time, because the body is not free to travel at will; but the mind can remember the past or imagine the future quite freely. For the Pischa, time has that globular, liquid nature and they can swim around in it easily.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing
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