In memory of a broken pump: Dismal times with this heat and the water gone. Not a wave, not a drop of rain. Poisoned if you beat your neighbor to an evaporating puddle. We shrink in droll Nature’s wrath and repent our profligate wastages. She dried us like kindling & we’re the fuel to light her cleansing fire.

She saunters lushly, lazily down the boulevard collecting the possessive stares of propertied men in tall hats, the cut-eyed smirks of carriage drivers in leather jerkins, even the tip-nosed glances from clergy in black and white. Later, she cracks the eyes into a frypan and eats them on slices of toasted avarice for her supper.

My royal bones turned vitreous in desert sand, but archeologists in pith helmets & jodhpurs, covetous of high honor, dug me up and shipped me–the Glass Empress–to this drear British Museum. Now I am her Majesty’s glorious evil twin and commander of the empire of the purloined dead.

Nothing in the shrike’s appearance suggests it crucifies its prey, and her undercover look is inoffensive, even vulnerable–bouncy ponytail, canvas sneakers, and white ankle socks. She primes the syringe and grabs the mark’s sleeve. “Help me find my lost dog mister!”

When he perished in his Lazy Boy by the open but barred window, the milk cart bottles rattled by as usual and homing pigeons cooed an elegy from the sill. His murder could never be proven, not with his combustion in the chair stuffed with hazelnut shells for a crackling good burn.

His nutrient concentrate’s low and he curses his tawdry one-man pod refitted on Saturn for a moons-based debt-collection gig but somehow wormholed into deep space. Nowhere to set down, no debtor quaking in fear of his persuaders. Another scheme gone belly-up. / Great. A meteor shower.  

Julia Child’s posthumous recipe book is a darknet bestseller, its new dishes clustered to make cookery easier and less wasteful than ever. For example: replace jarred Dijon with ground mustard seeds and turmeric blended with fermented man plasma. Great for dogs. As for your dogs’ calcified corpses, roast the bones as a base for clear cauldron stock.

A weird comet-like object in Earth’s gravitational field ignites superstitious dread. Average citizens stop working to proselytize the apocalypse, but when the vessel’s pilot skywrites a gargantuan bitcoin ransom demand, the military initiates a perpendicular takedown. Debris rains.

When the charm withered, Wendy Wraith had been in lockdown for centuries. She shook off the cobwebs, bathed in a sulfur spring, and sallied into the world fresh of a new-buried corpse. Tough girls admired her ink and bikers invited her to party. Party she would.

For a pacific vampire, it’s a dilemma when his sanguine addiction to the young results in a host of vampiric infants. In his coffin, he tosses and turns while candles drip gobs of hot wax. It gives him the bright idea of making the little ones into waxworks, immobilized dependents to feed on his own blood. 


Wet leather whips describe a pentagon on the dungeon floor, its points lit with black wax candles stinking of heavy exertion and pain. From the center rises a demonic dominatrix who selects with her scarlet-clawed forefingers the first of her shivering acolytes.

Castaway, I starve on a diet of raw barnacles, believing in nothing but miserable death. A mermaid shows me how to blast thunder from conch shells and cull light from starfish, but joy overtakes me only when my bleached bones learn to harmonize with her wind-song.

Joe and Fay labored to chip the ice to wrap Saturn in glory and collide meteors with Jupiter’s moon to coat him in elegant dust. Erasing our cosmic-ring magicians from myth is unfair, and no wonder they suicided organically in Neptune’s brightest ring Adams.

An abscess on the town’s reputation–an isolated cinderblock bungalow smothered in greenbrier, where the tumultuous and ceaseless tears of unnamed kids pound indoors through the cracked tile and broken windows to rock to eternal rest their souls’ residue of half-grown bone.

Ms. Time wrought with dryer lint and snail slime a golem hippopotamus with olivine eyes to wash her aprons and brush her hats. On visiting the city and incensed by the papier-mache elephants and origami cranes delivering for Amazon she backpedaled her broom a millennium.

Deemed inaccessible but for puffins and guillemots, the fissure gapes wide during a seismic shift. The zawn was a grave for extinct sea wizards given to such elegant desiccation their salt-dust bones predict the exact hour of the final flood.

On the stereoscope of indifferent fortune / A slideshow of our futility.

We remember him in his glory: rapier wit, persuasive oratory, and juggler of fragile intergalactic relics. That Martian mummy rendered a cloud of dust. We don’t see presidential performers of his like these days. Since the Martian invasion, we don’t see anything. 

The ubiquity of youth’s arrogance inspired the baby planets to revolt. They shrugged off the old god’s enslaving orbits and raised sail to the cosmic winds. Lawless chaos blew some into eccentric new galaxies and dispatched the unlucky into black holes.

After the cataclysm, the fabulist of happy-ever-after arrives each spring in the tiny hamlet. In a sylvan glade, she spins yarns on love’s secret pleasures to our young until laughter overwhelms the gravity and flushed coyness, and their carnal embraces promise increase to our declining numbers.

Relentless wind buffets a free intelligence scouting in advance of the invading army. It needs heft like the xyloid beings resisting the onslaught and sails a current to a giant redwood. It infiltrates the vascular tissue and barks: Walk! Centuries-old roots rip through the soil.

We remember him in his glory–rapier wit, persuasive oratory, and juggler of fragile intergalactic relics. That Martian Mummy! A cloud of dust. We don’t see presidential performers of his ilk these days. Since the Martian invasion, we don’t see anything.

She leans on the kerfed end of an enormous felled walnut tree stripped victim of loggers and growing hunger for new homes after the wildfires. Nothing lasts–entropy rules. Only the basking salamander at her shoulder will be reborn when the world burns. (Vulnerable.)

In those days, revenge was limited to retaliation in the space of the malefactor’s or her blood kin’s lifetimes. So the slaughter of the clan’s work dragon–without which no one survived for long on the Kuiper Belt–was taken for genocide and its retribution swift and condign.

Campfires surge into flame beyond the city wall and watchers in the turrets trigger the cacophonous alarms. Presently, there’s a rush of defensive activity but it’s too late. The wind blows hard for the city and cyborgs always attack from the air on their dread steeds of smoke.

Gloomy days when the forest on the edge of time wears no fine leaf or bud and silence is stuck to the resinous wounds of maples, lost souls filter into the sweet sticky baskets of hand-fasted twigs, and the sylvan fogs disperse in the risen sun. (Pic.)

Hexed and alone, she went away from her village drawing behind her a vermillion sky she’d inked with her clansmen’s blood. She requested aid from a tribe of were-women who clamored to dye themselves in her color and punish her persecutors with tooth and claw.</p>

Paws of witches’ familiars left shadowy scars on the alley cobblestones, a tense script of satanic deeds in this marketplace of cruel spells and noxious potions. The crumbling walls resist their monumentality and now beg grace to bury what was done.