the double singularity

To the order
of things
he was
a quirk,
a kink
in the quantum
the universe back
upon itself
like cosmic origami
that duplicated
his solitude
and doubled
his loneliness
in one
of inescapable

It felt
at times
as if
there might be
two of him,
and yet
of him
at all.

He was
what one might call
a “double singularity”
if one
had an
for string theory
and a yen
for verbal

imagine then
how jarring,
how daunting
it was
for him
when he felt
the matter
of his being
from a
with immodest
of a kindred;
with grand
and miniscule
as the underlying
of all-being
his solitude
and returned it
to him

of finding
a parallel
the infinite
in the discovery
of a corresponding
the interminable
sense of wonder
that arrived
as he
his own universe
by a magnitude

Of course,
she felt it
as hers
did the same.

She was
as much
a quirk
as he,
creased down
the center
in her
to face
at all
She was,
of a second
as if
the universe
that one alone
simply wouldn’t

And in one
during which
she unfolded
and finally looked
her own
she saw
at the
exact same
negligible moment
that he
saw her.
He said
along the lines of
“You have
and I
It was
and yet to them
it was
the width
and breadth
and depth
From this
of dual awareness,
this speck
of simultaneous
there exploded
another universe,
in which
irony was forbidden,
solitude was abolished,
and the idea
of singularity
had never

copyright © 2016 steven luna

Wing and Claw and Hoof and Tail

We walk and we talk on the path growing slim through the trees through the trees with the sky going dim as the gold-gleaming sun gilds the limbs and the leaves and the reeds and the weeds on these mystical eves when the feathering heathering blossoms rush past and the thickets grow thicker to greet us at last and the shadows are rich in this mythical wood where nothing behaves like we’ve learned that it should as we wander and wonder how far we can pass through these snickers and flickers these shimmers like glass of the fairy lights gleaming or maybe they’re eyes and the penny-flutes whistle their beckoning cries through a swirling and curling mysterious mist that spreads an allure too alive to resist or maybe it’s breath from a menacing lung churning bittersweet smoke where the mosses are hung and maybe the scritching scritch-scratching we hear isn’t rabbits a-scamper or sheltering deer or fairies or pixies but something more queer something threatening beckoning lumbering near and our laughter goes silent our mirth chills to fear and it seems now this trek was a horrid idea ill-advised into such ever-darkening parts and the shadows swing low on our questioning hearts and the chittering-chaw of hoof and claw goes skittering-scattering our nerves chafed and raw and the leather of wings that clatter and flap and circle above as we enter the trap of the jaws and the maws that chatter and clack but the road’s disappeared and there’s no turning back so we walk but we walk ever-slower we go while our hearts cry out run! and our feet tell us no! and we try not to cry in our shivering skins with our quivering hands and the madness that spins in our heads in our souls in this spiraling gyre of terrors unseen that collude and conspire and lick at their lips and lash with their tongues and gnash all their teeth and heave with their lungs and they screech and they squeal and they squawk as they stalk pulses shudder and hammer we stumble and clamber as we walk and we walk and we

From the Egg

My grandmother used to say she was born from an egg. Wasn’t everybody? I would ask. I was old enough then to understand that much when she told me. “I am hatched from egg, Anoushka. Not everybody is that.”

I would pat her hand and ask if she wanted more tea.

One day when she said it, her finger flew up in the air and her eyes popped open wide as if she’d discovered a new element or remembered where she’d left her keys. “I will get shell and show you!” She hopped up and hobbled off to her room while her tea sat staining the inside of her cup. And when she came back, she was holding half an eggshell, as black and shiny as night made liquid, with an infinity of shimmering red triangles and green diamonds swirling around the circumference. A golden maze design enshrouded it like lace. “Is this.”

“This?” I reached out to touch it, half-expecting my fingertip to meet wet paint.

She smacked my hand away. “No, Anoushka. Never touch egg unless invited, da?”

This seemed unreasonable. “And why?”

Her eye kinked with grave concern. “Careless touch ruins fate. You might break.”

“It’s already broken, Baba.”

She closed her eyes and pursed her lips. “Shell cracks twice: first time to let in life, next time to let in death.”


“Touch with eyes, not with hands, da?”

“Da, Baba.”

She raised it before me, this glittering husk that once held her…or so she wanted me to believe. “Let eyes walk maze,” she whispered. “Tell Baba what you find.”

I spied the entrance, a tiny break in the pattern, and my vision traced the black path between the golden walls. I felt myself become miniature, descending into the lacquer. The ridges of the pattern rose up and enclosed me as I moved, entire painted gardens of color exploding around me as I went. She turned the shell as I needed her to, anticipating my path, watching me wander until my way was certain. As I made it to the other side, I learned the truth about her strange assertion. “You found me, Anoushka – da?” she asked.



“And Father.”



Baba smiled with delight and mystery. “Da. I am hatched from egg, and your father from me, and you from him. We are all from egg.”

The wonder of it silenced me.

“You see now why is important to handle careful.” She turned the shell, letting it catch firelight from the morning sun as it seared through the window. “Delicate.” She closed her eyes again, as though in prayer. “To not let break—”

The shell dropped onto the table and rolled onto the floor.

Baba shrugged. “Oops.”

I scrambled to it, gathered it up gingerly, like it was a wounded thing. The lace pattern was split down the middle now, a chasm opened in the design that connected my family to itself. Molten light shone through the separation. “Oh no…it broke, Baba.” My heart throbbed in panic.

Baba dropped lumps of sugar into her tea and stirred. “Eh. Like you said, was already broken.”

“But you said the next time it would let in death.” We were all from the egg; we were all subject now to the ruined fate of her careless touch.

She sipped and shrugged and grimaced in that old woman way she had. “Da,” she said as I shrank, as the gardens of color exploded and the golden maze rose around me again. “Was bound to get in sooner or later.”

The Unexpected Elegance of Time Travel

He found one day, quite by accident, that if he looked very closely beneath him, at the space below his feet, he could see time separated into sheaths layered one upon another, temporal transparencies that lay like vellum with a binding unseen, each softly revealing a section of moment through the all the others. It wasn’t a clock, or a box, or a potion, or a machine. It was an assembly of pages. A book. Once upon here, and there. And when, and then.

And now.

There was nothing of particular wonder keeping him where or when he was, he reasoned. Nothing as astounding as his discovery at least. And even so, he could always flip back through if he wished to return…couldn’t he?


So he licked his thumb, reached down, turned the page, and went on ahead…

Fluff Piece


Larry couldn’t remember when it occurred to him that his life simply didn’t include enough marshmallows. He only knew that the bag was in his backpack one day, and after that, he was never without them. It was an occasional reach-in every so often at first, just a few here and there. The miniature kind, of course. Much easier to munch on than their more corpulent counterparts. Cramming those into his mouth on the sly was like trying to devour a snowman one lobe at a time. The little ones were like sneaking snowballs.

Much easier.

He didn’t eat them in full view of anyone, and yet he didn’t know why there was a need to keep it such a secret. Somehow it just felt…dangerous. Exciting. Like he was getting away with something. Maybe people saw his cheeks suddenly bulging with mysterious cargo, or heard his voice go foggy and cluttered with melting sugar, or found tell-tale streaks of corn starch littering his mustache. Maybe they wondered how any or all of that came to be, and he would know in his secret heart that it was from the cellophane cache in his satchel, the one that carried his hidden passion in tiny white clouds of confectionary passion.

The sugar also tended to make him just a touch melodramatic.

In actuality, those around him knew full well what he was getting into, because he was incredibly bad at being sneaky; the plastic always crinkled loudly when he reached into his bag, and he was never quite quick or stealthy enough at shoving them into his mouth as he liked to believe. And it wasn’t as if his fetish posed any real concern. He wasn’t smoking or drinking or snorting anything up his nose (although the corn-starch-on-the-mustache issue raised a few questions at first). No intervention was needed. Not at first anyway.

It wasn’t until he reached a three bag a day habit that things took a more notably unfortunate turn.

His friends and family began to see changes: his skin became pasty white and powdery, and anything that might have resembled an angle on him—his elbows, say, or his nose—became doughy and indistinct. And he began to emit a smell, a vague scent that wasn’t quite vanilla, and wasn’t exactly coconut, and wasn’t simply sugary, but suggested that if he stood near an open flame holding a chocolate bar and a box of graham crackers, he might find himself in serious peril from anyone who wandered by while even the least bit hungry.

Larry’s friends suggested he see a doctor about this.

“Humor us,” they said. “If he says you’re fine, you’ll never hear another word about it.”

“And if he doesn’t?”

“We’ll expect some changes.”

“You’re covering my co-pay,” was his final answer. They gladly kicked in for it.

He couldn’t exactly see his family doctor in this strange yet unadmitted condition. So he found someone new, a doctor who had no reservations about documenting his myriad novel findings. For instance, he discovered that when he pressed his stethoscope to Larry’s chest to listen to his heartbeat, the metal disk left a distinct impression in the surface of him…a dent that didn’t pop back out when the doctor removed the instrument. And when he kneaded his belly to search for sinister lumps, there was a definite crackling, as if small pockets of air were being broken open beneath his skin. “Very strange,” the doctor said.

“I’ll take that as a good sign,” Larry said. It was difficult to tell if the excessive sugar had made him oblivious to his own state of being, or if he was just very, very good at being stupid.

And then, there was the matter of his bloodwork.

“I think we have a problem,” the doctor said when he read the paperwork. “You, my friend, eat entirely too many marshmallows.” There was really no need to say it aloud at that point, but the man was nothing if not a lover of obvious pronouncements.

“And how are we defining ‘too many’ these days?” Larry asked with more than a hint of condescension.

The doctor was sober and staid. “However many you’ve been eating? Divide that in half. That would be too many. You’re well past the danger zone.”

“You doctors and your fancy math,” Larry laughed. “I suppose if you think having marshmallows with every meal is too much, then I can cut down to just two bags a day.”

“Two bags a day? How many are you eating now?”

“Three,” he said proudly.

“You do realize they contain zero nutrients, right?”

Larry snickered. “I guess…if ‘happiness’ isn’t considered to be nutritious.”

“It isn’t generally thought of in that way, no.”

“Well, you are the doctor. So why don’t you enlighten me as to why eating marshmallows is such a ‘bad thing.’”

“Let’s see…where to begin? Your skin has gone gushy, you have cornstarch rising out of your pores, your breath smells like cupcake batter—”

“Some women really like that in a man,” Larry said indignantly.

The doctor went on. “Your heartbeat is nearly inaudible under all the goo that used to be your flesh, you appear to have lost any semblance of joints you ever might have had, and you’ve turned the color of craft glue. You, sir, are well on your way to becoming an actual marshmallow…though most of these findings indicate that you likely already have.”

He scoffed. “Pffft. Like that’s possible, even if I ate SIX bags a day. Which I wouldn’t. Because I can stop whenever I want to.” He found himself wondering if he had any strays stuck in his pockets that he could sneak off and pop in his mouth.

“And then, there’s the matter of your blood.”

Larry couldn’t roll his eyes high enough. “I suppose you’re going to tell me that smells like cupcake batter, too?”

“Actually, it pretty much is cupcake batter. The lab found that you no longer qualify as any of the known blood types. You’re not A, not B, not AB, not O—neither positive nor negative for any of those.”

He folded his squishy arms and shoved his gooshy hands under his mushy armpits. “Well, what do I qualify as, then?”

“They had to make up an entirely new blood type for you. Congratulations…you’re the first known human being with the blood type CS positive.”

“And the CS stands for…what, exactly?”

The doctor folded his hands calmly on the desk. “Corn syrup.”

Larry might have been compulsive when it came to eating his sugary treats, but he wasn’t a fool. He was only willing to risk his health so much before realizing he had to make a change—a definite, concerted effort to reverse whatever damage might have been done before it was too late. And so, it was the very next day when Larry appeared at his office with a bag of carrots, a box of apples, a cooler of salad, a gallon of green tea, a small pot of fresh herbs for his desk, and a case of bottled water.

And, because change is hard, and Larry wasn’t about to quit cold turkey when his happiness was at stake, there were also two bags of miniature marshmallows stuffed into his backpack.

But at least there weren’t three.

Or six.

Nice Rack


“They’re just antlers,” she said, and I agreed with her, because she seemed so sweet and helpful when she said it, and it came after a time when we hadn’t been so sweet or helpful to one another. It felt good. I didn’t want to set us back by disagreeing outright. Still, when I looked again, I couldn’t help feel differently about it.

“They’re so…big, though,” I pointed out. As if it wasn’t obvious. They were moose antlers, for crying out loud. A full rack, too, covered in velvet, growing out of the sides of my forehead overnight, for no reason that we could discern. It was like a stress-inspired break-out, which made sense considering all I’d been going through. Still, I never would have expected antlers. Acne, maybe. Or hives. But not antlers. “Ernie’s gonna flip. He hated when I wore my lucky dollar bill bow tie to the audit post-mortem. Imagine what he’s going to say when I show up to budget planning with these sticking out of my head.”

“Ernie’s a tight ass. He could stand to loosen up a little,” she said. “Maybe this will help.” She laughed, but she didn’t have to share an office with him.

“Do you think if I…” I shuffled my hair forward with my fingers, kind of tufting it up over the stumps, or whatever the bottom part of the antler is called, giving it whatever camouflage I could. “…do that, maybe?”

“Really?” she said.

I tilted my head to see if it made a difference, if it helped hide the unhidable. “Not even a little?”

“Not even a little.”

I pulled my trilby from the corner of the mirror and pushed it onto my head between the antlers, but those things didn’t have any sort of give to them, so the brim just pinched and rumpled, and the crown wouldn’t quite meet my skull. “And now?” I was pretty naïve about the whole thing.

“Now you look like you have a broken hat stuck between your antlers. And you still have the antlers.” She walked over and unwedged the trilby, then straightened out the brim, fluffed out the center, and hung it from one of the boughs. She cradled her chin in her thumb and forefinger and tilted her head from side to side, as if the problem was in how she was looking at them from too upright an angle. “This could be useful, no?”

I tried to snatch it back, stretching my arm out as far as I could without pulling it all the way out of its socket, but the antlers were longer than my wingspan, and I didn’t even come close to reaching it. “Not in the least.” My head drooped forward and the hat fell off, and I realized how heavy they were. I almost batted her in the face as I tried to right myself, but she dodged just before the paddle made contact. “Sorry.”

She sighed, shrugged. Tried to look me in the eye instead of in the antlers. It was hard, though. I couldn’t blame her. They were enormous. “They look soft, at least.”

“Oh. That’s good. How shitty would it be to have antlers that looked rough?”

She laughed again.

I didn’t.

She pressed her hand to my chest, straightened out the pleats in my shirt, and tried not to stare too hard at them. “It’s just something we’ll have to get used to, I guess.”

“Is it?”

“What other options do we have?”

She said “we” more than once, as if she would be going through this with me, even though I was the one who had the issue. As if the fact that we’d been on the skids for the last two weeks and were precariously close to calling it quits had been miraculously undone by my waking up with paddles of bone growing from my temples. Like a blessing that had shown up in a very bad, very obvious disguise.

Somehow, that made it all feel…surmountable, maybe? Or tolerable? Like an unexpected sort of suffering that we could share. It was a difficult sensation to nail down.

Mostly, though, it felt un-alone.

I liked that so much.

She nodded. “And you know, they do fall off eventually.”

I cocked my eye. “They do?”

“If my blind adherence to all things Discovery Channel is to be believed, then yes. After mating season. So it won’t be forever.”

All of that sounded promising.

“Something to remember, I guess.”

She leaned in and kissed me on the cheek and handed me my lunch as I turned and sidestepped my way through the door, hoping I’d be able to roll the windows down enough to drive with those stupid things taking up so much room, and thinking about what Ernie would say when he saw me wearing both my lucky bow tie and a giant rack on my head. But mostly, I wondered if it would be worth holding onto the antlers if it meant mating season would be extended, even if only for a little while.

starfire and the miracle tree

Starfire and the Miracle Tree - Final Cover

A long, long time ago (eight years, to be exact) I wrote a story for kids, about a girl who finds a feather from an angel’s wing, plants in in her front yard, and grows a tree filled with miracles. I had very little idea of where the plot was going when I started; it was really more about the whimsical idea of a tree that brought the townsfolk’s deepest wishes to bear (pun intended) in the Roald Dahl/Louis Sachar tradition, with a touch of Kate DiCamillo thrown in for good measure. But as Emmaline Starfire Donahue’s adventure unfolded, I realized there was something more real-world pushing the plot beneath the goofy charm and magical realism. You see, her momma disappeared not quite a year before the story begins, and she’s still incredibly sad about it. The disappearance became the framework, with the miracle tree becoming a vehicle for Emmaline’s healing. Suddenly, the story had more going on than just its original contemporary fairy tale leanings.

WHOA! So serious for a children’s story…

Actually, it’s a blend of everything: clear-eyed humor and wistful sorrow, goofball wit and heartbreaking loss, life-altering sadness that doesn’t seem to want to go away and cheerful good hope that things can always get better if you believe they can. And above all else, the notion that even those who leave you behind are never further from you than your own heart allows them to be.

And so, here she is, after some careful reconsideration, a solid clean-up with some greatly-needed help from the brilliant Clayton Smith, and a cover that only took eight iterations or so before it finally became “the one”: Starfire and the Miracle Tree, now available in electronic form at, with paperback soon to come. Click on the cover to be magically transported to the storefront. For readers age 8 and up…back to my storytelling roots!