“Summer Palace” by F.J. Bergmann

“Summer Palace” by F.J. Bergmann

Time is slower than you think,
but when I dangled my segmented tail
into its oozing folds (like blue Velveeta)
I realized I had the wrong recipe;

something that consumes us instead
of being consummated. Ordinarily,
it would make no difference, but
I had become somewhat attached

to the concept of a caudal appendage;
prehensile, precognitive, ridden
by parasites. Next thing you know,
everybody wants one for the wife.

Space is overrated and whatever
lives there is less friendly than you
can imagine and keeps me awake
all night with its crying, but

fortunately, I was confined to
one of many large bubbles, colliding
like overwrought bumper cars
in the unstemmed flow of events.

Something watched us furtively
from an overhanging balcony.
The light was very bad, but darkness
was obedient and snuggly.

Why did we live like that, out of all the
possible continua we might have chosen?

F.J. Bergmann writes speculative fiction, poetry, and what falls between those worlds. She is the editor of Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, the poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, and poetry editor at Dark Renaissance Books. Her chapbook Out of the Black Forest, an illustrated collection of conflated-fairy-tale poems, won the 2013 SFPA Elgin Award, and her poem “100 Reasons to Have Sex with an Alien” won the 2015 Rhysling Award for the Long Poem.