Beyond the Tree Line – Hugh Cartwright

 

It’s our first Christmas adrift in the stars.

And Molly’s first egg.

“Can I break it now?”

“Be gentle.”

Molly’s just four, the youngest of our tiny community. She taps the egg with fierce concentration, as if it’s the most important job in the Universe.

Suddenly the egg shatters and a glittering shape unfolds from among the fragments – a silver Christmas tree. It would weigh a handful of feathers on earth; here in deep space it floats effortlessly.

The tree glides quietly through the cabin until I tie it down with red ribbon. Our little group of 19 gathers round in a circle, linking arms and singing carols.

On 12th night, Molly helps me shepherd her tree into the airlock and we set it free. It glides behind the ship, not wanting to leave. But, as the hours go by, it gradually falls away, dissolving into the star-strewn sky.

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Our 27th Christmas; it will be the last before we reach our new home.

Molly is unwell, but she is our talisman; she must crack the final egg. A shimmering, golden tree emerges, capped with a crown of sparkling stars.

Our group now numbers 22. We gather around the tree for the final time, holding hands and singing carols.

On 12th night, Molly, whose memories were of nothing beyond our ship, is dead; she is the first to die.

27 trees drift behind in a soundless, invisible line, watching over us as we rush towards a world that Molly will never see.

 


Hugh’s not really a writer. His career has been spent in Universities, working at the interface of artificial intelligence and physical science. Now retired, he has begun to write occasional stories, some colored with elements of science fiction, others being just a little odd. It helps to take his mind off his impossible project: growing citrus trees in the Canadian climate.

Soon the Drift of Dusk – Darrell Coggins

 

Twirls of seaweed strew

over dimpled rocks

 

quickly shed free –

across damp sand

playing off each other

 

papery filaments skitter

and flip

 

Later, washed over

crisscrossed in a half-smile

frail footsteps recede

 

disquieting behind me

ribbed with graveyard bones

limestone fragments crumble

 

wallpapered underneath

in imprecise lines

 

snippets of ochre conjure

an amoebic design

a patina stained and flecked

 

Soon the drift of dusk –

unmoored, about to weep

drawn back and back

 

both beautiful and hypnotic

a bevy of clouds merge

towards the sea

 

continuously glassy

minute waves lap

almost silent –

 

gentle against my feet

 

 

IMG_1301Darrell Coggins is a poet, visual artist and musician who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. His poetry has been published in Poetry Matters, Positive Words, The Mozzie, Tamba, Studio, Nine Muses, Envy – Seven Deadly Sins, The Crow and Friendly Street Poets anthologies. Darrell’s poems are of moments seen, heard and felt.

Warmest Tangerine – Richard King Perkins II

 

The sun’s

resurrection—

 

it’s always been

alive

 

somewhere

 

smashing into air

and interstellar

plasma

 

but we see it

as warmest tangerine

 

earliest dust

 

across rooftops

and far-reaching

leaves

 

held captive

in uppermost vibrissae

 

waiting for months

to descend

 

into crisp piles

where we stroll

and caracole

 

through shed

fragments;

 

dead—

 

but living in a way

which we

cannot imagine.

 

rkpiiRichard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.