Size / / /

A students' lounge. Carefree college freshmen

sitting in candlelight converse with all

the passion and the bubbling confidence

expected of their years. Tossing beers, they chat

about dreams and would-be conquests, breaking off

as a hooded waiter approaches, deferential,

and hands to each, enfolded in black napkin,

his individualized misfortune cookie.

Dean paralyzed by stroke at fifty-seven;

total blindness coming up for Jess.

Alcoholism then suicide for Courtney,

lung cancer within two decades awaiting Simon.

"Home lost in Texas hurricane," reads Jill.

"Arrested for embezzlement." (Oh, Aidan!)

Bryce paraplegic before the winter's over;

Darcy's future daughter killed in plane crash.

Silence, and thoughtful digestion of disasters

coiled like ghostly embryos in time's womb.

All hearts accelerate as cheeks pale. Dean

exhales in mock relief. "Hey wait, but that's...

in forty years, if it happens, so why worry?"

Bryce, shaken, as his nemesis is nearest,

vows to drive more carefully from then on.

Simon, sobered, tosses out the cigarettes

in his pocket, while Darcy wonders if she

should even have the daughter if this means

losing her to tragedy so young.

No tears, just plots to keep the moving finger

from writing their scary scripts. No doubt, rewriting,

from early changes in lifestyle or location,

could mitigate the final fate that jars

and wounds and wrenches, and thus blanches

courageous souls anemic. However well

we live, however high we build our walls

or word our prayers or plan our menus, in

Madonna's material world there'll always

be misfortune cookies, passed around

early, late, or anywhere between.

Happy the person offered only one.




Lark is originally from California but has lived in Peru for over half her life, along with her Peruvian husband, as an ESL teacher. Over the past several years, a number of her poems have been published in online and print journals. Lark can be reached by email at wilbeltran@speedy.com.pe.
Current Issue
18 May 2020

“Have you seen the DEATH/GRIP Challenge meme?” Benito Oliveira said. “Yeah, it’s pretty funny,” she said. “It’s people pretending not to kill something with their off hand,” he said, as though she hadn’t responded.
By: Johnny Compton
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Johnny Compton's “The DEATH/GRIP Challenge.”
One spring day, My grandfather caught the universe that just revived.
By: Jong-Ki Lim
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Jong-Ki Lim's “The Fall of Snakes.”
Issue 11 May 2020
By: Gabriela Santiago
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ashley Bao
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 4 May 2020
By: Vida Cruz
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Raimo Kangasniemi
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Apr 2020
By: Tamara Jerée
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: L. D. Lewis
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: L. D. Lewis
Issue 13 Apr 2020
By: Jo Miles
Art by: Galen Dara
By: Jo Miles
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jasmeet Dosanjh
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Jasmeet Dosanjh
Issue 6 Apr 2020
By: Elizabeth Crowe
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Shuyi Yin
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Shuyi Yin
By: Nome Emeka Patrick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Mar 2020
By: Jason P Burnham
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Tara Calaby
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Kaily Dorfman
By: Camille Louise Goering
By: Brian Beatty
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kaily Dorfman
Podcast read by: Brian Beatty
Issue 23 Mar 2020
Issue 16 Mar 2020
By: Lisa Nan Joo
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Thompson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
100 African Writers of SFF - Part Fifteen: Ghana
Issue 9 Mar 2020
By: Leah Bobet
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Emily Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: