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Raven's Roost

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by David C. Kopaska-Merkel & Morgan Kopaska-Merkel

The trees leer over the narrow roadway,
Osage oranges poised to do a number on your car.
Its ruinous hood bears the imprint of every
black walnut you ever cracked.
Still, that's where you park, because the swamp is worse.
All your unfinished symphonies are in there:
At night they bubble, accompanying the spring
peepers on their appointed rounds,
and peering out of the duckweed when they
think you aren't looking.

You are looking, of course, and it's worse inside,
where the wandering Jew and purple velvet
plants writhe for mastery in the den, and the
cacti cross swords at the library entrance.
That's why I carry Round-up, in a convenient
quick-draw holster, and I never take it off
(except in the shower) --
a sensible, if minimal, precaution.

Is it too late here? No way to tell
till you're as good as dead already,
and what if the weeping entrails of the library
reach out for you with plush and sticky embrace?
The Round-up will only take you so far,
and if you get the cacti out of the way, well!
-- there are still the drifts of putrid paper
and the hungry malevolence of
the couch within.
You will not escape unscathed.
If it is not too late --
hold your breath.


David C. Kopaska-Merkel has had poetry and short fiction published in dozens of venues since 1986, including Strange Horizons, Speculon, Space and Time, Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Mythic Delirium, and Aoife's Kiss. He edits and publishes Dreams and Nightmares, and edited Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, for 6 years.

Morgan Kopaska-Merkel's writing credits include fiction in Pegasus Online and poetry in Dreams and Nightmares.

David and Morgan "are no more closely related to one another than any two random individuals based on a common genetic code." David resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, "where the dentist is king and the summer is sultry." Morgan lives "in a town named after one of the most infamous mass murderers in the history of the British Empire, and has been accused of vampirism." You can learn more about Davidís nefarious activities at his home page; Morgan prefers to keep her transgressions pseudonymous.


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"Plantations" © David C. Kopaska-Merkel & Morgan Kopaska-Merkel. Used by permission of the authors.
 Raven Electrick © Karen A. Romanko. Clipart by Corel®.