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: https://lingojam.com/EnglishtoBinary]
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.