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Text: I scuttle in the dark down barely-lit galleys, a sliver of life amongst hulks of discarded craft. Image: A black-robed figure with a helmet approaches an enormous half-buried turbine across a night-dark field tinged pink. Text: Salvage, they call it, but no one comes for it. We are alone, floating in space…the wreckage of old spaceships… Image: The robed figure's large bulk is hunched and weary. Beneath its hood, instead of a face, there is a fist-sized circle of red light. A second image, larger and less shadowed, reveals an angular armored face with a single glowing red eye. Thin metal tentacles curl past the chin like dreadlocks. Text: …and myself. Title card: "The Stars My Destination," written by John Philip Johnson. Art and lettering by Adam Martin.

Text: The creak of old hulls is the void trying to break in, the relentless crush of nothing. Image: The black robe drags across the ground. Text: We resemble the end of all things; the apocalypse does not recycle. The end of light, its dull terminus, the passing of the stelliferous era— Image: An air tank on the robed figure's back resembles an insectoid sea lion. Text: It does not kindle new light, Image: Light streams from the figure's face. Text: Yet there is no end to endings.

Text: For now, we are the only place free from any nature, even our own. Image: An empty red circle. Beneath it, an identical red circle contains a small, indistinct, green gleaming oblong. Text: Garbage exists out of time, beyond history, unencumbered in the near-perfect dark. Image: A third identical red circle magnifies the mysterious object. It is a test tube which contains a seedling.

Text: I am an egg. I am the egg of eggs, formless and empty. Image: The robed figure holds the test tube in metal fingers. Soft red-gold light from the figure's face refracts through the glass around the seedling. Text: Able to take any shape I want, or none at all, I am the only thing without inertia.

Text: I want nothing. If I am born, it will be without meaning… Final Image: A single-leafed seedling planted in rough ground, in darkness, firmly rooted. Final Text: Like a star.

John Philip Johnson has work in Rattle, Asimov’s, F&SF, Apex, Mythic Delirium, The Pedestal, Phantom Drift, Ted Kooser’s newspaper column, “American Life in Poetry,” and the Poetry Foundation, with Pushcart, Best-of-Web, and Rhysling noms. He would love to live on Mars. His comics are from his new comic book, The Book of Fly, which is graphic poetry in Twilight Zone-like episodes. Available at
Current Issue
26 Oct 2020

I couldn’t write any more. It turned out that the trajectory of my world had been determined by the stitches of so many regrets. It turned out that I had had so many chances to enter into a new, potentially better world.
Heitaro was a rational young fellow who believed in the progress and harmony of mankind. He felt nothing but contempt for ghosts and yokai and didn’t hesitate to declare that anyone scared of such insubstantial phenomena was an unenlightened imbecile. He had a habit of saying things like, “Act like you’re living in the 20th century!”
along the coast we have islands like the pirate Cofresí. Fairytale vanish has since disappeared.
Issue 19 Oct 2020
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Aber O. Grand
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 12 Oct 2020
By: Elisabeth R. Moore
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Jean
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 5 Oct 2020
By: J.L. Akagi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Lesley Wheeler
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Lesley Wheeler
Issue 28 Sep 2020
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 21 Sep 2020
By: Aqdas Aftab
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: David Clink
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Sep 2020
By: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Blackford
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Sep 2020
By: Catherynne M. Valente
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Bethany Powell
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bethany Powell
Issue 31 Aug 2020
By: R.B. Lemberg
By: Julia Rios
By: Sonya Taaffe
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: R.B. Lemberg
Podcast read by: Julia Rios
Podcast read by: Sonya Taaffe
Issue 24 Aug 2020
By: Leslie J. Anderson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Leslie J. Anderson
Issue 17 Aug 2020
By: Emma Törzs
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liz Adair
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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