Five sex changes. You could call me indecisive. I keep all the old parts in big hand-blown glass jars in the bay window of the breakfast nook, overlooking the river (such a pretty blue!) Sea horses regularly waft by, six of them hitched to each floating pumpkin. I’ve always loved onion domes; not content with the 17 ornamenting the roof, turrets, and gardening shed, I had two more installed, on each side of the front door, facing outward. Of course, painted pink, with cherry-tinted nipples, nicely complementing the color scheme of the rest of the place (mauve with chartreuse trim and orange accents). On even Sundays, one can tour the grounds and the interior of the house for a nominal fee; unfortunately, all Sundays for the foreseeable future are a bit odd. When the summer days are too hot, I immerse myself in a deep cistern buried under the roses where the septic tank used to be, first making sure to schedule daily ice-cream deliveries. Raspberry, mango, & spinach are my favorite flavors, to match the décor of the house. Violet light shines out of my conch- shaped ears, and when I ambulate in the moon garden, I wear a halo of moths, signaling the praises of the night with their alphabet wings.
— F.J. Bergmann
F.J. Bergmann manifests in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s, and elsewhere in the alphabet; functions, so to speak, as poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change; and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. A Catalogue of the Further Suns, a collection of dystopian first-contact reports, won the 2017 Gold Line Press chapbook contest and the 2018 SFPA Elgin Award.
Editor’s Note: Image is a collage of a color palate (Open-Xchange), a seahorse (kisspng) and a recolorized pumpkin to complement the surreal poe
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.
Misery loves company,
dining in elegant restaurants, and long walks
on the beach, silvery in moonlight.
She carries motes of light
in the sieve she uses to strain them
from the cycling skin of waves.
Summers in the mountains,
she pours the light she saved over the edge
of high precipices, into valleys so deep
they believe in only the dark.
Sometimes she thinks of following
after it, of jumping.
— F.J. Bergmann
F.J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change (mobiusmagazine.com), and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. A Catalogue of the Further Suns won the 2017 Gold Line Press chapbook contest.
Editor’s Note: The artwork, The Gleaming Lights of Souls by Yayoi-Kusama, is combined with a woman in silhouette.
Horsemen in black boots shine
against the dead streets, peering in each window,
smashing in every door.
The house begins to smolder;
smoke like thick liquid rises silently and fast,
closing our ears with a flood of dark.
The yellowing stars go out
like theatergoers after a disturbing performance
stumbling in the aisles, whispering angrily.
Zeppelin angels drift overhead,
each arcing sword a roar of blue flame,
their robes ballooning with hot air.
Somnambulant, we lose our way
in baroque murals, trompe-l’oeil gardens,
a flaking fresco of falsehood and denial
whose far horizon holds an ancient ridge
of mountains, crumbling like a fossil spine.
We will cross them safely into another country.
— F.J. Bergmann F.J. Bergmann edits poetry for Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (sfpoetry.com) and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change (mobiusmagazine.com), and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. Her chapbook A Catalogue of the Further Suns recently won the Gold Line Press manuscript competition.
Editor’s Notes: From publicdomainpictures.net, the fiery “lord of darkness” is combined with saucers and stormtroopers.