Little Black Box by Anna Cates

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Little Black Box by Anna Cates
Two intergalactic criminals, banished to roam an untamed sector of space, 
tire of Scrabble and crossword puzzles, and fight the final hours with 
the robot’s poetry generator. They leave behind the 
craft’s little black box and an unfinished poem:
He: I’ll go first.                          Dangerous females desire romance
She: <A smirk>                              Eternal similes in cryptic signs
He: <A brief nod>                           Elaborate allegory, a rendezvous 
She: You seem a tad lusty tonight.          West of the imagination
He: What’s new pussycat? Party with me.     Encountering
She: You fiend; that’s not much of a line.  Flame keepers 
He: Ah, a classic metaphor.                 Gushing strange ironies  
She:                                        Panting at the edge of time
He:                                         Wolves in the fictional woods
She:                                        Tame your gremlin
He:                                         In a brave new world
She:                                        With luminous intervals
He: <One brow shoots up>                    Invention’s artists provoke mischief
She:                                        Divas comprise strange mythology
He: The air’s getting thin.                 Forty are better than five
She: I smell smoke.                         Faces and figures naked by the window
He: A fuse just burst.                      The sphere and the labyrinth
She: I never thought I’d die writing poetry.Sexuality and space
He:                                         Spaghetti and stars
She:                                        The origins of things
He:                                         Where gods and mortals meet

              01000100 01111001 01101001 01101110 01100111 …

[Binary code translation, dying:]

BIO: Anna Cates is a graduate of Indiana State University (M.A. English and Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction/English) and National University (M.F.A. Creative Writing). She teaches college writing and literature and graduate education as an online instructor. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Dwarf Stars, Elgin, and Rhysling awards. She is author of the following collections: The Meaning of Life and The Frog King (Cyberwit Press), The Darkroom (Prolific Press), The Golem & the Nazi (Red Moon Press), The Journey (Resource Publications), and Love in the Time of Covid (Wipf & Stock). She presently resides in Wilmington, Ohio with her cats, Freddie and Fifi.