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an opening in a dark forest

[by F. J. Bergman]

-After Of Geraniums and Self-Involved Wolves, Kelli Hoppmann, oil on panel, 2011

You hide in clouds of animate vapor, amid the dark
leafless branches. You have already almost forgotten
what your reflection used to look like. No sooner
have you compelled one anima into the absence

of the past than another moves to take her place
in the driven vagaries of the dance. If she leans
on you, she will soon learn all its involutions
and torments, fainting into your dragon coils.

You insist that there are no more monsters here—
no more ravening beasts gliding out of legends,
nothing roaming the forests of the dead world
more terrible than yourself. You can’t think

where you have hidden the man you once were.
The light beyond your refuge is green as magic.


F. J. Bergmann edits poetry for Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association ( and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change (, and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets.

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