Dead Light

By Ann K. Schwader

As it happened, the star she wished on burned

to a cinder crisp before Earth's first

sunset simmered into mist

& shrouded waters still uncursed

by much past microbes. When it flared

its warning pang & cauterized

the sufferings of neighbor worlds,

nothing for parsecs had the eyes

or mind to notice. Seeping out

across oblivious space, its light

seemed little different than before,

held no suggestion of the plight

that alien billions—briefly—faced

on some night magical as this,

as soft with all the scents of spring.

Now, focused only on the kiss

she hopes her lucky star will grant,

she shuts her eyes & lifts her head

beneath this spangled canopy

of pyres to the distant dead.


Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and Corgi-walks in Westminster, CO. Her Lovecraftian sonnet sequence In the Yaddith Time is forthcoming from Mythos Books. Her work has recently appeared in Mythic Delirium, Tales of the Unanticipated, Dark Wisdom, and elsewhere, and has received numerous Honorable Mentions in Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, and SFPA. You can find more of her work in our archives, in Strange Stars & Alien Shadows, Horrors Beyond, The Weird Sonneteers, Architectures of Night, and Tales of the King in Yellow (Act I), or on her website.