Time Lord Thief by Vince Gotera

Time Lord Thief

—terza rima haiku sonnets


I’ve had an interest
in rayguns since I was five,
when I saw my first.

Father shot a live
bird dead, right between the eyes.
A needle hole gave

the lone hint of why
the bird had died. I was hooked.
Not long after, I

began to collect
rayguns, from the famous and
infamous. Intrigued

by how anyone could end
a life so quick, on command.


I tried to visit
many warriors and spacemen’s
chronotopes — planets

and ships — for a chance
to steal their weapons. Phasers
hijacked from Captains

Kirk, Picard. Blasters
from Han Solo, Chewbacca.
And Marvin of Mars —

his trusty Acme
pistol. Paralyzer gun
made by Doc Zarkov

for Flash Gordon (once Tarzan).
My TARDIS filled with rayguns.


Friends, my life has stood —
a loaded raygun, fully
charged and ready, good

for battle, truly
primed. On Earth I’m like Loki
the Trickster, wooly,

wild, ghostlike, smoky.
I drift like the breeze; you won’t
see me, way low key.

That’s how I’ve purloined
these celebrity rayguns,
magicked and siphoned

in mystical elegance.
I’m gone. And so’s your raygun.


About the Author:

Vince Gotera is Poet Laureate of Iowa. He recently retired as an English professor at the University of Northern Iowa. He was Editor of the North American Review, the nation’s longest-lived literary journal, 2000-2016, and of Star*Line, the print journal of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, 2017-2020. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar. This poem is in a form he invented in the 1970s: a terza rima haiku sonnet, with 5-7-5 tercets and a 7-7 couplet, rhymed in terza rima. This poem will appear in Vince’s next book, Dragons & Rayguns, coming out in August. 

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