From a dense blue jungle
the seed from which I grew
was transported by a wandering bird
to a place where I could be, alone.
Stones continually roll from above
creating with the rustle of my leaves
a false sound of voices.
I imagine another, brothersister,
with me here on the steep edge of winter.
But storm and snow break my branches;
my leaning and reaching are unrequited,
and my flowers die sterile.
I wait for each sunrise
on a cliff whose cracks are widening.
Every gust of wind deconstructs
my departure and the hunger of roots
thins toward an impenetrable cistern
of dreams. I come nearer
to the abyss.
J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change (mobiusmagazine.com), and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. She has competed at National Poetry Slam as a member of the Madison, WI, Urban Spoken Word team. Her work appears irregularly in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s SF, and elsewhere in the alphabet. A Catalogue of the Further Suns won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest and the 2018 SFPA Elgin Chapbook Award.
Editor’s Note: Image of blue forest is from Desktop Nexus.
The name you share with Zeus’s concubine
And Galileo’s seismic moon conveys
Our keen belief that children’s traits align
With names their sires assign. If with one phrase
Your namesake set a Greek god’s heart ablaze
And reigned as Jove’s volcanic satellite,
We know her name will likewise raise
You toward unparalleled allure and might.
May magma stir your blood and gadflies never bite.
— Mindy Watson
Mindy Watson is a Washington, DC/Northern Virginia-based formal verse poet who holds an MA in Nonfiction Writing from The Johns Hopkins University. Her poems have appeared in venues including Eastern Structures, Quarterday Review, Poetry Porch, Snakeskin, Star*Line, Think Journal, and many others. You may read her work at: https://mindywatson.wixsite.com/poetryprosesite
Editor’s Note: This homage to the Galilean moon, Io, is written as a Spenserian stanza (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spenserian_stanza). The accompanying image is a superposition of an active volcano and Jupiter as viewed from Io (with some artistic license), both from Pinterest. Io is the most volcanically active body in our solar system.
Our last star went out so long ago.
The night sky misses her diamonds.
We huddle around the gnawing
radiation of a dying black hole,
final relics of life, spindly sentinels
to stand vigil over the corpse
of the universe
There is only enough fuel
to light our furnace once.
All the fire that remains in the universe
can ignite a single star for a little while,
or burn our escape from pitiless night.
The pearls all begin to glow
along our necklace of 500 million miles.
And as one, the lasers fire from every link.
Gold chains all come together
at a single point in the center
of the black velvet—
all the beams growing so hot and so bright
that no wall can withstand
our final breath.
Zero clicks to one
and we are born again
as whispers in a new universe
filled with light.
— Vanessa Kittle
Vanessa Kittle is a former chef and lawyer, who now teaches English. She lives in New York with her partner and two cats. Vanessa recently was published by Akashic Books, and has two collections with the March Street Press. She has appeared in magazines such as the Rhysling Anthology, Abyss and Apex, Contemporary American Voices, Dreams and Nightmares, Star*Line, and Silver Blade.
Vanessa edits the Abramelin Poetry Journal. She enjoys watching cheesy movies, cooking, gardening, and Star Trek!
Editor’s Note: The notion that the singularity at the “bottom” of a black hole might actually be a white hole spewing matter into a new universe is not new and the subject for much imaginative writing. I speculated about it in my poem “Black and Gold” in While the Morning Stars Sing, An Anthology of Spiritually Infused Speculative Fiction (ResAliens Press Publishing, 2010). The wormhole wallpaper is from http://csolsqs.com.
The last bird on Earth
nudged her new dead chick.
It had been so strong,
then the white spots came,
just like she had seen
on her beloved.
She left the dry nest,
perching on a rail
hot with rusty scabs.
With a ruthless glare
through the silent road’s
She sang her last song.
— Mickey Kulp
Mick Kulp is a writer, father, and effing bug slayer who is not allowed to buy his own clothes. His creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous consumer magazines, newspapers, literary journals, and three books of poetry. His recent publications are found in Assisi Journal, Gravel, Torrid, Literary Orphans, Yellow Chair Review, Silver Blade, Illumen, Haiku Journal, Broke Bohemian, Chantwood, Folded Word, Georgia’s Emerging Writers, and Gyroscope Review. His complete portfolio can be seen here: http://mickeykulp.pbworks.com). He is a member of the Gwinnett County Writers Guild and founding member of the Snellville Writers Group. In 2018, he created the ‘Books and Beer’ reading series to benefit the local food co-op.
He lives with his wife and a dozen larcenous squirrels in Atlanta, GA. His next book is coagulating nicely.
Editor’s Note: The superimposed images of a songbird (from Daily Mail Online) and an apocalypse background (from https://pokeheroes.com/forum_thread?id=32225), echo the irony in the poem. The melancholy is accentuated by the pentasyllabic lines.