The elderly couple wears fig leaves with dried-apple garlands. HR guy checks their application. “Adam, you spent ages delving. Why?’ ‘Digging an escape tunnel. God’s on our case.’ ‘Ah, and Eve, you span?’ ‘Yeah, knees gave out from ages of spinning.’ Guy scribbles on application: ‘So, jobs in fruit-picking OK?’

A bottled torrent of rain and river hurls itself into the gully in a flash flood of thrashing trout and minnows. She drops her backpack and runs as the cascade pounds down. When its sheet-steel relentlessness overwhelms her she opens her mouth and swallows death. (50)

Mum’s mind’s gone but her reputation in the nursing home verges on saintly. That’s saints, right? Easy-going. No point waking her, she won’t know me as I watch her propped up in bed, her stiff fingers over the covers, twitching, remembering the bootees she knit, tiny buttons fastened, and tears dried. (50+)

The dwarf planet’s axis of equilibrium was preserved by a giant moon. Along w/ the sun & stars it bled light over the eerie lava forms & crammed shadow into crevices where life eked out an existence in insentient equanimity. Until the quake … (Image)

He makes contact w/ moss & heaves himself atop the cliff. A hatchling clings to Jack’s neck & fireworks sear his heart for they’re not alone. He’ll be whipped for his revolt but the dragon will die. He rises, and Amber greets him with a kiss.

Her job’s inserting trait bundles into the DNA of newborns coming down the conveyors. Sassy, feisty, & classy always pick for themselves but she injects the runts w/ brains, cunning, & stamina. Shift’s end, she jabs herself w/ equanimity. It keeps her going.

They put 1 drop of courage & 1 drop of pain-killer under my tongue and unlock the gate because I’ve slaved since childhood & claimed my right of final liberty. I step into it. As expected, the landscape’s an arid stretch of bleached bone, the paradise where I choose to die.

She stakes her liberty on a new identity w/ a name like honey on her breath & no place for over-sized shoes to trip over or abraded knuckles to trip into. A cruise-ship croupier, she flashes million-buck smiles at fellow gamblers & floats alone in a turquoise sea (-1).

In this epoch we are prey, and my inanimate bones will soon molder under layers of this river’s silt. The birds’ brouhaha at gray dawn clarions their hunger, but no raptors yet. A bare chance I’ll survive if I slip back into the water now. (River scene image.)

He warns her she’s spoiled the part/y mood as he yanks on his shirt jacket and says he’s ready. Sheathed in black, she smooches his neck and tucks silk under his shirt collar. She purrs “You forgot this.” He caves & knots the tie. No choice: her kiss is Kryptonite.

A Bistro in Society Hill, bouillabaisse and brie, and a sultry buggy night under a retro streetlamp. Below a table, a puli impersonates a dropped knit coat of tangled yarn. On the bus shelter, an ad for ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.’

My kid’s eyes start leaking but the rain bleeding from her skin worries me most. She wakes on a soaked mattress, puddles on the floor. Doctors can’t treat her: she’s a water nymph not sick. In winter, we hurl snowballs out the window & embrace w/ every bullseye.

In a malfunctioning god’s landscape the air’s a kaleidoscope of toxic particulates & the life forms surreal: acrobatic trees, turf a mile high, & ant-sized humans w/o ant strength, and warlike. Pleased, he stretches a new canvas & fashions tiny demons. (59)

Zephyr breath stirs weeping branches over 2 cane chairs & a small table set with crackled willow-pattern china. Cucumber sandwiches curl at the edges and tea leaves spell futures already come to pass. The moon bequeaths its shattered reflection to love’s drowned eyes. (50)

As he dug up the gladioli for storage, the scent of hyacinths made him sweat. It was the phantasm of spring, to be followed by lilac & privet right thru winter. For 30 years he’d re-limed her grave, but she lay withing as he’d buried her, blood seeping from her wounds.

Often she’s tortured by the least sound, daylight thru the curtain, a whiff of coffee. At her dresser, she avoids her anguished reflection, swallows the migraine pill, and burrows into the aphotic cocoon of her bed. Thunder at the door. ‘Mom? You better yet?’

Whether from the planet’s toxicity or mutations in the human genome, engineering expertise was in grave decline. So much so, Corsairs initiated the vile deep-space navigation technique of fusing their ships AIs to the brains of kidnapped Lander magicians.

An effervescent soul repressed by censure, a sweet inquisitive consciousness burbling in her mind with no outlet but dreamscapes of love, supernova, & volcano–the inevitable fission of atomic detritus that finally sets the world ablaze.

Jasmine ladles its pungency over the dying susurrus of the meditation gong as nightjars suspend their song & moonshadow dances to his heartbeat. He waits for love to elope into the fullness of his life but still she lingers, unready, in the chrysalis of her own bliss.

In GAME OVER, an absurdist play, the characters appear in gossamer shrouds & lecture the audience about cleaving to hope. When the lights fall, the audience is startled awake as the actors, all out-of-work wait-staff, die in agony.

We’re all born with voice & capacity for language & self-consciousness, tho these manifest differently & can take shape in love or loathing. I am cursed with words that punch, a tone to shatter teeth, and tongue-twisters that kill.

It was a revolutionary if bloodless scheme to vacate the planet and allow the re-ascendancy of dragon-kind but feasible only if the illusion that Jack was his wizard twin lasted long enough for him to absorb every last shred of arcane dragon-rune lore.

A face ravaged by nature’s casual violence, crags & valleys seemingly carved in the brow bone, sagging cheeks, & runnels that once channeled hot tears from rheumy eyes. In a white room at death’s door,she knows she paid full price for admission.

In the vivid streak of sun down the slope of Dragonspire, the mythic tale of the Great War seemed but an infancy in dragon/human relations, a tantrum of inexpressible desires. O for beginning anew w/ heroes of diplomacy instead of flame and blade.

So mesmerizing is the mortician’s recent visitor that he silver-bolts her coffin during the day. W/ the sun’s demise, he burns w/ ardor & lifts her out. Frail as blowing smoke, the undead lady respectfully begs a dram or 2 of his hot blood.

He gazes rapturously at his verdant garden, the colonnade of magnificent pear trees, & moonflower beds spelling his daughter’s name, more or less. Until an orgy of fairies tumble from the sky, all glitter & sparkle, intent on amorous chase. How he despairs of his flowers!

Some violence against her person is marked indelibly, a laparoscopic surgery & a dog bite on her forefinger. The true scars still suppurate in her prefrontal cortex, unpredictable & eternally punitive for her failure to have deserved protection, to have known.

Psyched about my future (in physics) I found a (darknet) 5Star app to help me write my thesis, ‘Star Composition.’ Keys tapped but not those I chose. They wrote a novel: lyrical & wise. Next a galaxy of beststellers, a Nobel Prize. I smashed my laptop w/ the medal & wrote my thesis by hand.

She travels until bittersweet sprouts from her toes and twines upward. The vines braid into a delicate latticework that pins her arms to prevent flying and binds her throat in a necklace of 2nd-guessing. Foliage shades her from worldly flurry but birds stop by in spring (49).