Darwin’s Islands of the Arabian Sea

Second

Galapagos,

but more mysterious—

how to classify the phoenix:

burning,

 

dying—

but then reborn;

or classify the djinn:

a man or a woman—but then

incense

 

falling

into bottles,

scent like apple blossoms

pervading the space. Yes, Darwin

hinted

 

magic.

Einstein’s paper

on the subject called them

cosmological unconstants.

Dark force,

magic—

they are wonders!

I will not ignore them,

for the phoenix does burn and live

again;

 

the djinn

do transform, then

make three wishes come true.

I would ask for ever-blooming

tulips,

 

then wait

ten years to ask

a second wish: then wait

twenty years thinking hard about

the third.

 

Could I

bring back the dead?

With one wish or with three—

forget tulips—whom would I choose

to bring?

M. SHAYNE BELL received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1991). His poem, “One Hundred Years of Russian Revolution," was a finalist for the Rhysling Award (1989). His poetry has been published in The Fibonacci Review, The Ghazal Page, Shot Glass Journal, Typishly, Dialogue, Sunstone, Amazing Stories, Asimov’s, etc. His haiku have been published in Modern Haiku, The Heron's Nest, Tinywords, Sunstone, and Mainichi Japan.

Bell also publishes science fiction and fantasy. His story “Mrs. Lincoln’s China” was a finalist for the Hugo Award (1995). His story “The Pagodas of Ciboure” was a finalist for the Nebula Award (2002). He received a first place Writers of the Future award (1990) for his story “Jacob’s Ladder." His works include the novel Nicoji, the anthology Washed by a Wave of Wind: Science Fiction from the Corridor (for which he received an Award for Editorial Excellence from the Association for Mormon Letters [1994]), and the story collection How We Play the Game in Salt Lake. His nearly 100 published stories have appeared in Asimov’s,
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Tomorrow, Analog, Amazing Stories, etc.; in
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (2003); and in three editions (2000, 2001, 2004) 
of The Year’s Best Science Fiction. He has written stories for both Star Wars and Star Trek.

Bell holds Bachelor’s (1982) and Master’s (1985) degrees in English Literature from Brigham Young University.

In 1993, Bell backpacked through Haleakala Volcano on Maui, from the summit to the sea, retracing an expedition Jack London went on in 1911. In 1996, Bell was part of an eight-day expedition to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Bell’s long-time companion, Drew Staffanson (a foreign correspondent who had been stationed at various posts in the Middle East), died in 2002. Bell grew up on a ranch outside of Rexburg, Idaho (USA); he and his six cats live in Rexburg.

©2018 HighShelfPress. 

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