by F. J. Bergmann

In later life, I retired from poetry
to take up the study of magic. After all,
there are only so many ways to use words,
and I didn’t care for the modern vocabulary.
Summoning spirits was easy: hadn’t the Muses
(a few of them, at least) been at my beck
and call? But other spells were harder to master,
especially those requiring esoteric ingredients.
Nothing in my previous career had prepared me
for reliably identifying genuine murderers’ hands
or fat from unbaptized infants, and I’d never
had to write in runes before. Sorcery doesn’t
take kindly to rough drafts or revisions.
More than once I fled my dank cellar choking
on sulfurous fumes, covered in violet flames.
Don’t even talk to me about succubi!
I grew more and more confused—the fumes,
I expect—and then it was nothing more
than the same old enchantment, in the end.

first line from “Dammerung” by Simon Armitage


Copyright © 2018 by F. J. Bergmann

Poet_FJ_Bergmann75x105Featured Poet of the Month 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. Recent work appears in Eye to the Telescope, The Future Fire, Futures Trading, Pulp Literature, and Twisted Moon. A Catalogue of the Further Suns, winner of the Gold Line Press chapbook contest, will appear in 2017.