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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 www.johnphilipjohnson.com.
Current Issue
26 Oct 2020

これは大正時代のお話である。廿世紀も早十五年を過ぎて、新世紀到来の興奮もすっかり冷めた頃合いである。
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.
我写不下去了。原来,我所在的世界线,是由这么多遗憾的节点织成的。原来,我有这么多机会,进入一个可能更好的世界。
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.
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Issue 17 Aug 2020
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