Size / / /

Content warning:


[Este cuento también se puede leer en español.]

I see it now: the cold afternoon, the curious garden, the climbing vines, the pinnacles, the oddly shaped puddles like Chinese letters. Again: the grand old birdhouse, the ringing doorbell, the cyclical incantations, the soft, open footsteps of prey, the statues’ insubstantial stares, the constant rush of water through cracked rock. The whole landscape—vaguely sepia, vaguely black—between the white legs of a sleeping woman. An ancient postcard atop a layer of blueing dust. Add a few glass beads, various playing cards from a professional deck, some paper-dry leaves, and mix them all together in a vessel of green blown glass. Your photograph, worn by the elements, falls rippling across the mouth of the jar. For the last time I see your hair fade beneath the lid in a powdery mass as the dried leaves crackle apart and cover everything in a fine grey film of dust. Then I remember your words, always linked in my mind with the events and images that came after: “A dream carries out the hidden machinations of the will; but the sleep of reason produces monsters.” Your off-white teeth chattered as your tongue twitched, as your words lost all concrete meaning and took on new subtleties, deeper and more arcane. In fact, I lie with every portrait I attempt of you; your features go missing. All of it. For a few of us, your figure is still vivid, there beneath the margins of your photograph, your existence captured like a daguerreotype and your life comprised of a simple drawing on a shiny surface; an image dependent only on ideals, on vague relationships, on fruitless efforts and clumsy literary concretions. After some memories and impressions, you fade away—hidden, blurry, inaccessible, an ironic fulfillment of your old declaration: “The loneliness of death surpasses all else.” You accounted for yourself using every verbal flight of fancy, using big statements and tiny details, all with that urge towards self-recognition that transcends even the ages and has left me, your beholder, your receiver, with this strange ability to fulfill all your hidden ambitions, to communicate and materialize them. Now: lugubrious spiders fall on the grass. Now: the curtains move, revealing a seamy landscape of Romanesque memories, mildew and stones, perfectly curved arches. Now: I’m not where I started this page, but in a place of night and dawn where your figure rises, solidifies, unfolds, trembles, announces a new rebirth. And I know you will be there. Always going on about yourself, monologuing with a scene partner in all sorts of conditions, like the indistinct character who on certain occasions watched us from beyond the path, beyond the foliage, reproving and paternal; and I know your presence will keep harassing me, refusing to disappear completely; it will settle in some privileged place like a bad thought, obstinately repeating even the rarest of your stubborn gestures; challenging me to a duel as you point to some region of your body—the middle of your forehead, your chest, your belly—and speak words of tenderness (“I’m here”), of obsession (“Look at me”), of persuasion (“Touch me”). With these fruitless efforts one could say you manage, in a way, to return to life, or at least to what we could call a relatively lucid, conscious, unsettling state of existence. “The state of agony,” as you might have said but never did. “The simple state of reason.” Tortured, we’d suggest; Indifferent, we’d continue. “Like any elemental form that pulses, suffers, and reacts,” but not yet. The aftertaste of life gives time the space to die; the passing of the years turn into seconds, into particles of nothing, empty situations consumed by the mist that lingers through some distant epoch until the slow lighting of the lanterns, in an always-present time, always revealed in its different phases, always self-denying, always implacable. I want to talk about time. About the clocks and hours when I breathe the heavy atmosphere, the cold kerosene steam and the smoke scattered around the corners of the room. Thus time finds its fullest expression of power, and it fills me; it surrounds me in a potent aura like hemp or hash, thick and black and empty. I absorb shreds of time and my lungs exhale the heady mixture. This is the moment two opposites entwine and the depths of Scorpio exalt them completely: a perfect, flaming crest, like the sound of water—like the fount itself.



Emiliano González es un escritor de ficción, poeta y ensayista, así como un estudioso de los movimientos literarios simbolista y de vanguardia de Europa y de las Américas. En 1978 obtuvo el premio Xavier Villaurrutia por su libro Los sueños de la bella durmiente. En palabras de Augusto Monterroso, es “el primero y único autor mexicano que se ha arrojado de verdad y con entero valor al fondo de la literatura mágica.”

Emiliano González is a writer of fiction, poet, and essayist, as well as a student of the symbolist and avant-garde literary movements of Europe and the Americas. In 1978, he was granted the Xavier Villaurrutia Award for his book Los sueños de la bella durmiente. In the words of Augusto Monterroso, he “is the first and only Mexican author who has courageously and wholeheartedly dived into the depths of magic literature.”
Current Issue
11 Jan 2021

The egg must have hatched overnight, though he could see no sign of a hatchling anywhere. Only empty shell bits remained, strewn here and there across the tatami.
By: Ryu Ando
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Kat Kourbeti presents "The karyōbinga sings to Jiro", by Ryu Ando.
a place nicknamed The Village of Fatherless Children
By: Nikki Caffier Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Nikki Caffier Smith's “In Which the Deer, Unwittingly or Not, Moves In.”
Issue 4 Jan 2021
By: Maya Beck
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Burt
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Stephanie Burt
Issue 21 Dec 2020
By: Octavia Cade
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Meep Matsushima
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Meep Matsushima
Issue 14 Dec 2020
By: ML Kejera
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Brigid Nemeton
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Brigid Nemeton
7 Dec 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for the Palestinian Special issue! The issue, edited by Rasha Abdulhadi and Basma Ghalayini will be published at the end of March 2021. We are open for submissions from now until January 31, 2021. Don't wait till the end to send your work!
7 Dec 2020
تقديم الطلبات مفتوح من الان و حتى تاريخ 31 يناير 2021. قدم/ قدمي عملك عاجلا و ليس آجلا!
Issue 7 Dec 2020
By: Toby MacNutt
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Anna Cates
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Dec 2020
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Ateri Miyawatl
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Adam Coon
By: Vraiux Dorós
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
By: Luz Rosales
Translated by: Andrea Chapela
By: Libia Brenda
Translated by: Allana C. Noyes
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast read by: Ateri Miyawatl
Issue 23 Nov 2020
By: Michael Bazzett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Michael Bazzett
Issue 16 Nov 2020
By: Cat Aquino
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Michael Chang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Nov 2020
By: Miyuki Jane Pinckard
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Load More
%d bloggers like this: