NaPoWriMo 2023 Day 20


Today’s prompt: In poetic form, explore what a far-off future archeologist or scientist might conclude about our society from examining a contemporary artifact.

Marine debris
Photo from
The Fish Traps
by ARHuelsenbeck

These floating structures
are primitively constructed.
From the number of skeletons
and decaying bodies,
their purpose seems to be 
to trap and kill sea creatures
and also flying animals.
Apparently, the "intelligent" lifeforms considered the animals
invasive pests and exterminated them.
Unfortunately, they did not value them
as potential food sources.
No wonder the sentient lifeforms died out.

Clearly, the sentients (if they can even be called that)
had limited imaginations and engineering skills.
The fish traps display no artistry whatsoever.
They are made largely
of membranes of various colors
decorated with nonsensical symbols,
possibly some form of written communication.
Tangled in the membranes are 
vessels, possibly designed as floats 
to give the traps some buoyancy.

Other random materials are also 
present in the traps,
and their functions cannot be

Perhaps this planet was
doomed from its creation.
It had no ozone layer to 
protect its atmosphere.
Accordingly, the temperature
was too extreme to support life for long.
We observed little vegetation
on the landforms.
We found that the earth 
was scorched and radioactive.
There is no evidence that the 
beings of small intelligence ever built dwellings.

Our recommendation is
to drop this planet from
consideration for colonization.

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

2 responses »

  1. I would never have thought of fish traps as a subject for a poem, but what a topic to explore, especially from the viewpoint of a future architect – and, of course, from the point of view of the creatures trapped and killed in them. A scorched and radioactive Earth is not so hard to imagine. No wonder the recommendation is ‘to drop this planet from consideration for colonization’.

    Liked by 1 person

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