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.