Size / / /

The design is inconsistent:
rooted at one level in the painter's art,
and at another, in the product of my admirable
Each time that I return
she haunts me in the frame.
There she stands, brightly shining,
within a sullen glow of apocalypse.
Dirge light! Nowhere can I hear her sweet singing.
Her silent voice condemns me not, but
thus ends self-recrimination;
tonight, I bring thinner and a heavy brush.
Alarms disarmed, my arm is armed
for daubing.
I'll not look upon her gentle,
too-forgiving eye.
I must have peace: I have not slept a wink
since you were framed.
Goodbye, my love.
You were faithful in your heart, at least,
as I was not; my mistress
only was that vixen science,
with whom I sleep and wake.
Fare well. I pray
(or would, were there a god)
that one day I can
forgive myself as you have done.


Copyright © 2003 David C. Kopaska-Merkel

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David Kopaska-Merkel, a long-time resident of cochlear Palagomia, is being driven slowly mad by an extraterrestrial brain infection. A by-product of this always fatal disease is gibberish that occasionally resembles poetry. His latest books (The Ruined City and Shoggoths) are available on Project Pulp and David's previous publications in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive. For more about him, visit his website.

David C. Kopaska-Merkel won the 2006 Rhysling Award for a collaboration with Kendall Evans, edits Dreams & Nightmares magazine, and has edited Star*Line and several Rhysling anthologies. His poems have appeared in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. A collection, Some Disassembly Required, winner of the 2023 Elgin Award, is available from him at
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