Black Petals Issue #100 Summer, 2022

Editor's Page
Mars-Chris Friend
BP Artists and Illustrators
Baby, You're the Best: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Darkest Day:Fiction by Richard Brown
They Feed on Light:Fiction by Kilmo
Step Eight: Fiction by Paul Lubaczewski
Reunion:Fiction by Gene Lass
Highwayman's Trousers:Fiction by Michael W. Clark
The Dutiful Hit:Fiction by Jay Flynn
Flight of Fantasy: Fiction by Martin Taulbut
He Asked Me to Do It: Fiction by R. A. Cathcart
Lagniappe: Fiction by Michael Stoll
No Spark, No Flame: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Bathroom Light: Fiction by Craig Shay
Dave Jenkins, Flayed: Flash Fiction by Brian Barnett
Beauty Sleep: Flash Fiction by Simeon Care
Head Games: Flash Fiction by Philip Perry
Hurry Home: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
You'll See, She Said: Flash Fiction by Robb White
Captain Yeah-Way: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Attic Notes: Poem by Michael S. Love
Exit Strategy: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
You Can Pretend: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Gold Star: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Conflict of Interest: Poem by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Recording: Poem by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Litha: Poem by Christopher Friend
Sleeping Beauty: Poem by Christopher Friend
It Began with Violence: Poem by Donna Dallas
Rocking Zebra Déjà vu: Poem by Donna Dallas
Circle: Poem by Donna Dallas
Love is a Ghost: Poem by Donna Dallas
Together: Poem by A. N. Rose
Silence: Poem by A. N. Rose
Dead at 21: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
House Centipede: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen

David C. Kopaska-Merkel: Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest


David C. Kopaska-Merkel



Jen pressed the doorbell again

a snippet of Welcome to My Nightmare

echoed from the crypt

she loved Alice’s raspy voice

footsteps, and the door creaked open.


Inside, Persian carpet

scented candles (so necessary

due to the bodies)

fully-stocked wet bar

vintage record player

exuding the strains of Poison.


Besides Cooper, the Prince favored the classics:

Monster Mash, Ballroom Blitz,

nearly everything by Black Sabbath,

even Excitable Boy by Zevon (but not

Werewolves of London).


The Prince (Prince of what? She’d asked once

garnering a half-smile and raised eyebrow)

greeted her with a glass of black wine

seated himself at the Scrabble table

inclined his head.

She hoped the game would be in English

she sucked in Romanian.


You’ve concealed your lovely neck he said

she resettled her scarf and picked her first tile

a “V”; the Prince drew “A” as usual

They played all night; her finest word

vitreous; somehow he managed exsanguination

shortly before dawn she made to leave

the Prince stood, moved so very close

tilted her head back with one long finger

lips brushing the skin above her carotid

same time tomorrow?

She’d be there.

David C. Kopaska-Merkel, a retired paleontologist, won the 2006 Rhysling award for best long poem (collaboration with Kendall Evans), and edits Dreams & Nightmares magazine (since 1986). He has edited Star*line, an issue of Eye To The Telescope, and several Rhysling anthologies, has served as SFPA president, and is an SFPA Grandmaster. His poems (more than 1200 of them) have been published in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, and more than 200 other venues. Some Disassembly Required, his latest poetry collection, comes out in 2022 from Diminuendo Press. @DavidKM on twitter. Blog:

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