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From Raven Electrick Ink
Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic
Sports & games with a speculative twist...
Fiction & poetry by 42 authors

Machines Tend the Abandoned Fields
by Daniel Ausema

In neat rows the rose bushes lie
each flower manipulated to perfection.
The petals balanced and even, their red
the red of summer wine and winter holly.
The thorns just sharp enough for the illusion
of danger, the thrill of false peril.
A gene ripped from a bacterium bolsters
their immunities, makes them as fiercely
independent as those who exchanged them long ago.
No need of chemicals to protect them or
people to tend and preserve their beauty.
Another genetic strand from an olive tree gives long
life, the branches twist with age but the
flower remains young, long after love
gnarls and wilts and slips away.
The wishes of a hundred genetic parents
push them, dreams of their success, of
continents covered in endless rows.
No human gene to mar them, no need
of others, no vulnerability for beauty
or irony or sudden sparks of pain, no
god of dappled things in their identical
leaves and stems of final perfection.


Daniel Ausema has a background in journalism and experiential education and is now a stay-at-home dad. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Nemonymous, Reflection's Edge, Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic, and dozens of other publications.  He lives in Colorado.


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"Machines Tend the Abandoned Fields" © 2008 Daniel Ausema. Used by permission of the author.
 Raven Electrick © 2000-2008 Karen A. Romanko.