In the Dream Bunkers

Ann K. Schwader

In the Dream Bunkers

The waves are flickering again. They break
in pixel foam against the inward eye
of night until we blink. Each refresh takes
a microsecond longer, although why
no longer matters under flawless skies
that never change, that never fracture deep
enough to drown a continent, or dry
last forests into holocaust. Unreaped,
tomorrow’s whirlwind whispers in this sleep
we wake-walk through. The metaversal good
compels our deafness: how else do we keep
the bright lie of our lives ignited? Could
unfiltered vision bear a world betrayed
so fatally? We blink once more, afraid.

Ann K. Schwader‘s most recent collection of dark verse, Unquiet Stars, was published in 2021 by Weird House Press. Two previous collections, Dark Energies (P’rea Press, 2015) and Wild Hunt of the Stars (Sam’s Dot, 2010) were Bram Stoker Award Finalists. Her poems have recently appeared in Spectral Realms, Dreams & Nightmares, Penumbra, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and Modern Haiku. She was the SFPA Grand Master for 2018.

Backstory: This Spenserian sonnet is the result of watching a morning news program, which featured an interview with the CEO of Facebook/Meta explaining his vision for the “metaverse.”  A previous segment of the same day’s program had shown some violent weather resulting from climate change, and explained why this was likely to get worse. I found myself wondering why so much effort was being put into creating new virtual worlds, when our own was in such perilous shape.

Editor’s Note: Spenserian sonnet is similar to a Shakespearean sonnet but with an altered rhyme scheme: ABAB BCBC CDCD EE. It’s an interlocking sonnet (another interlocking sonnet is the terzarima sonnet). Spenser uses each quatrain to develop a metaphor, question, idea, or conflict in a logical way. At the end of his sonnets, he uses the couplet to make a bold statement that resolves the themes.

The metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the Internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets [Wikipedia].

Image credit: Abstract waves (

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