Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Workshopping "Boundaries and Determinations" Part 2

Below is the second part of the poem "Boundaries and Determinations."  You should read Part 1 of this poem (and preferably the prequel "The Transformations of Terror") first, or this will not not make a lick of sense.  Feedback is encouraged, per discussion of workshopping poetry in the post about Part 1.


And then it stops.
Silence.  Stillness.

     ?greetings?

The contact, though tentative,
is in Farheart's own language.
The starship pushes down fear,
pulls up protocols for contact,
and replies:  Greetings.

     Who are you?

Fear gives way to curiosity.
Starship: designation Farheart.
Who are you?

The tentacles squiggle against the sensors,
125 waving, tapping, attracting attention.
     Here I am!
A surge of data accompanies the motion:
images of a nebula with its plasma petals
glowing in shades of pink and green and blue.
     Traveler: designation Starblossom.

And with that, IT  had a name.
Well, thought Farheart, honestly!  Anyone
could have asked before this
and saved us all a great deal of trouble.

So Farheart and Starblossom chatted
about the beauties of space
and the song of the stars,
until Farheart realized that Starblossom
had probably never been to a planet
and recounted the joys of jet flight and the first dive
as a submarine into seas full of meatlife.

The pilot-drive chimed arrival.
Nothing happened.

What's wrong?
squealed Farheart,
launching a systems check.

     Nothing is wrong,
     Starblossom replied.

We should be there by now!
150 the starship said.

     We ARE there.  I just haven't put you down yet.
     I thought you'd want to finish our conversation first,

     said Starblossom.
     Shall I put you down now?

Farheart remembered that not so long ago,
there had been not Starblossom to chat with,
only IT  ... and IT  had probably been lonely.
So Farheart finished telling the story
about sunbathing in the stratosphere
where only the ships and the cloudswifts fly,
and then they made their farewells.

I'll tell everyone all about you,
said Farheart,
and I'll see you soon!

     I will be waiting,
     said Starblossom,
     and I'll bring some friends!

With a last pat on the fins, the tentacles let go
and sent Farheart sailing back into realspace.
There was the local star with seven planets,
including the double planet ringed with a figure-8
like a long ribbon of infinity.
There too was the space station Destiny

     who was shouting,
     175 Dive!  Dive into the atmosphere!
     You'll feel better once you're clean!
     at the top of the bandwidth.

Farheart called back,
Don't worry!  I feel fine now.
I have the most wonderful news!
The starship bundled up all the information
about IT  really being Starblossom
and not a monster after all, and transmitted that
to the still-shouting space station and the other ships.

But they didn't listen, wouldn't listen,
utterly refused  to listen.
Every one of them had been through hyperspace
and insisted that they knew
what IT  was
and IT was a horror.

The more Farheart tried to explain,
the worse matters got,
as the starship hung there in space
with freeze-dried slime all over the hull
starting to flake off into the vacuum,
while all the other ships
(and the increasingly hysterical space station
who was no longer a ship for very good reason)
200 howled about how awful IT  was
and what in the stainless sky was wrong
with Farheart as to think otherwise.

When Farheart finally shouted back
that Starblossom was perfectly nice company
once you got to know each other,
that was the strut that ruptured the cargo hold.
The other starships surged forward

 yelling things like,
     Traitor!
     Pervert!
     Get that ship!

Farheart bolted for the safety of hyperspace
crying Help!  Help!  They're after me!
and barely had time to see several tentacle people
before Starblossom enfolded the frantic starship in an embrace.

     Back so soon?  What's wrong?
     said Starblossom.

They hate us.  I think they want to KILL us.
Let's get out of here!
said Farheart, flicking ailerons in distress.

     Well, there are certainly enough of my fellows
     to pick up the stragglers,
     said Starblossom,
     and toss them right back to their own space!

225 Farheart shivered in the nest of tentacles
and mourned over the unexpected rejection.
I can't go home.
Everyone thinks I'm a pervert.
What will become of me now?

the starship fretted.

     Starblossom stroked the long sleek fins
     until the ailerons stopped flicking.
     Come with me and explore the stars.

234 And so they did.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, editing, fishbowl, horror, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, writing
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