Live, Laugh, Love, Loop

My time machine is geared for me alone.
I don’t meet stars, make presidents, stop wars.
Fantastic times hold folks I’ve loved and known.
Jazz clubs with Uncle, Dad, Young’s saxophone.
Visits at Grandma’s, bunking with Dad’s snores—
My time machine is geared for me alone.
Unlike Our Town, give me the daily drone—
Like favorite songs and books, I love encores
Of times spent with the folks I’ve loved and known.
A traveler must endure the pain foreknown—
Worth it to see the people she adores.
My time machine takes tolls from me alone.
For Grandpa’s jokes, I’d give up all I own—
For family boating, Dad’s hands on the oars—
I cherish times with folks I’ve loved and known.
This is my heaven—stopped by no gravestone,
I’ll loop my life and visit you in yours.
My time machine is geared for me alone,
But best times hold you folks I’ve loved and known.
— Adele Gardner
With master’s degrees in English literature and library science, Adele Gardner ( has a poetry book (Dreaming of Days in Astophel) and poems, stories, articles, and illustrations in American Arts Quarterly, The Cape Rock, Pedestal MagazineDaily Science FictionLegends of the PendragonNewMyths.comStrange Horizons, and more. Gardner is a two-time third-place winner in SFPA’s Rhysling Awards and a third-place winner in the Balticon Poetry Contest of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. She lives and writes under her middle name to honor her father, mentor, and namesake, Delbert R. Gardner, for whom she serves as literary executor.
Editor’s Notes: For this Villanelle (, though tempting to use a Victorian time machine, a more abstract representation of time travel was chosen with the collage overlays and color adjustments, and of course, the graveyard/stone is a significant “initiator” of the place and time set.