“Touring the Command Center with Mlle. Deadlock” by Gretchen Tessmer

various tragedies
deaths, maimings, etc.

and all general
are to occur
at intervals
on the timepiece
with seven seconds
between the beats

no, I didn’t think so
the new ones are always so unsteady

well, just hold on
stand fast
(the bridge will tilt, darling)
and try real hard
not to grit your teeth

watch out that those
garish tentacles
all twitchy-and-tangled
don’t grab at your ankles

and don’t get trapped
or snatched
in metal gears as they
spin-and-sputter, industriously
at your feet

(and God forbid you start to weep)

believe me, Dear Heart

you won’t want Them
to think you’re weak

Gretchen Tessmer is a writer based in the U.S./Canadian borderlands. She writes both short fiction and poetry, with work appearing in such venues as Nature, Strange Horizons, Cast of Wonders, Daily Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, as well as previous appearances in Kaleidotrope.