T & R Used Books and Curios by Angela Acosta

June 2023 | Utopia Science Fiction Magazine

Utopia Science Fiction Magazine
2 min readAug 30, 2023

Tawdry electronic shops and video bars

spook neon nightlights across the supply depot.

Passerby come for a quick dose of dopamine,

some stay for the serotonin of late night eats and

the promise of fascinating liaisons with sentient bipeds.

T & R Used Books and Curios takes care

of a different sort of ache,

the kind that happens when you tire of the fast life

sprinting between cargo runs and the adrenaline of hitting

atmosphere as you promise your best friend lightyears away

that you’ll get your precious two Sols together in this millennium.

Established fifteen solar years ago, Tula and Reina

never thought much about being tied down to a relationship

or collecting all the detritus settlers leave astray on starships

that gets turned for a profit by some old friendly gays

in a supply depot whose name nobody ever remembers.

You never think it will happen to you,

until your myopia gets worse, the joint pain sets in,

and you’re out of luck trying to get the most lucrative of pilot jobs

and the person you’d been running towards suddenly gets a whole lot closer

so you evidently get married and say it’s for the financial benefits.

T & R Used Books and Curios is a whisper

of warm cats prancing around bookshelves,

of what it would be like to fall in love deeper

than you can imagine when your partner dumps

an entire solar array setup on your terran rugs

and the whole quixotic project leaves you belly laughing on the floor.

The store promises happy memories, a few useless trinkets,

and spellbinding adventures read between

sips of chamomile tea made fresh from the hydroponic farm.

Each visit is unique, for Tula and Reina handpick their selection,

sending the rest to public collection and the finest wares to

their own living unit, much to Reina’s chagrin.

Come visit when you’re full and well-rested but otherwise

depleted of human companionship. Reward yourself

with being well looked after by a lady and enby

who will ask you about your day, your mechanical problems,

and kindly ask you to sign the guest book on your way out.

Originally published in the June 2023 issue of Utopia Science Fiction Magazine.

Angela Acosta is a bilingual Latina poet and scholar from Florida. She is a 2022 Dream Foundry Contest for Emerging Writers Finalist, Rhysling nominee, and Best of the Net nominee. Her speculative poetry has or will appear in On Spec, Eye to the Telescope, Radon Journal, Space & Time, and Shoreline of Infinity. She is author of Summoning Space Travelers (Hiraeth Books, 2022) and Fourth Generation Chicana Unicorn (Dancing Girl Press, 2023).