Size / / /

CONTENT WARNING:


I. First Sister, Sister Winter Snake

I didn’t know what choked me in the Russian courtyard,
amid the drifting jeweled wisps. I came to drink our history
hidden behind iron gates, to interpret the flag fluttering
its sickle and hammer, to witness one lone cottonwood
bright in the golden-red light. Myth, our sister said, Revolution.

A weight of fingers, again, around my throat in the sunset's glow,
luminescent and ghosting. I could neither speak nor breathe,
my tongue clamped by the past’s vice-grip. When the server asked,
Coffee black? I shook my head, eyes watering, hands quaking.

We know her, are her, our sister said. We are ancient as babble—
a language withered by family truth. Who had I believed
we were for? I held the fairy book of Baba Yaga, the one gilded
with her image—long nose, mouth to suck, teeth to cut
a heart—open in my lap. Why do I hunger?

II. Second Sister, Sister Moon

My little babuscha, my mother whispered to my wrinkled face,
squeezing pruny fingers and toes, mussing my hair, knowing
the cold, sharp edges of Moscow streets, how they would scour me,
how they would whet my teeth to points and shear my leg to bone,
shaping me into yet another. Baba Iaga, they called me in school,
skinny girl with bony shanks, hawkish nose, birdlike fingers
carving horns to cull songs. I shaped a firebird charm to wear.
Classmates stared where it jiggled, dropping feathers of ill-luck.
My name means horror, fury, torture, pain. Baba Yaga, we’re called,
a name I was born into, grew into, am. I wobble on chicken legs,
build fences like rotting bones, live in a home on stilts that turns
in wind. My days feel mundane—cook, sweep, grind herbs to spell,
curse, and hex, warn so many away, tend to my sisters. Snuffling,
I nestle candles in skulls. Lift my nose, sniff for Russian men.

III. Third Sister, Sister Death

One of us was naive, the good girl men would sing-speak pop songs to
over vodka, “I Will Survive" a humming drunken mumble in July sun
as music warbled from the Black Sea boardwalk of flapping tents.

One of us was compliant, letting fate grind and mash her
like dreamspells of herbs worked by mortar and pestle,
she licking the limbs of men, cracking and sucking them down,
men of marrow and bone. Are we here of our own free will?

What answer isn't a lie? One of us was fierce, riding out the night,
a shadow’s specter, refusing her mother’s latching warmth,
the sweet suckle of milk-tit beyond babyhood. I cast my voice
to the moon, snarl, be the wolf bitch for the world. Who doesn’t

consume to escape? I ride the pig. I dance the old men, pull
them down. Give me secrets, I say, Give me your babes.


Andrea Blythe lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she writes poetry and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including Yellow Chair Review, Nonbinary Review, Linden Avenue, and Strange Horizons and has been nominated for Independent Best American Poetry and Sundress Best of the Net in 2015.



Andrea Blythe lives in Los Gatos, California, where she writes poetry and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including Chiaroscuro (ChiZine), Perigee, Bear Creek Haiku, and Chinquapin. If you would like to learn more, you can visit her webpage: www.andreablythe.com. You can also see her previous work in our archives.
Laura Madeline Wiseman's debut book of poetry is Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press). She is also the author of six chapbooks, including 2012's Unclose the Door. She is the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press). She has a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches creative writing. Stranger Still, a new anthology of her alien-themed poems, will be available in October 2013, and can be pre-ordered through Finishing Line Press.
Current Issue
24 Feb 2020

tight braids coiled into isles and continents against our scalps
By: Mayra Paris
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Mayra Paris's “New York, 2009.”
This Mind and Body Cyborg as a queer figure raises its head in Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s 2019 epistolary novel This Is How You Lose the Time War, as two Cyborg bodies shed their previous subjectivities in order to find a queer understanding of one another.
Carl just said ‘if the skull wants to break out, it will have to come to me for the key’, which makes me think that Carl doesn’t really understand how breaking out of a place works.
Friday: Into Bones Like Oil by Kaaron Warren 
Issue 17 Feb 2020
By: Priya Sridhar
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: E. F. Schraeder
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Feb 2020
By: Shannon Sanders
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 3 Feb 2020
By: Ada Hoffmann
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: S.R. Tombran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Jan 2020
By: Julianna Baggott
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Terese Mason Pierre
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Terese Mason Pierre
Issue 6 Jan 2020
By: Mitchell Shanklin
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 23 Dec 2019
By: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Dec 2019
By: Osahon Ize-Iyamu
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liu Chengyu
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Dec 2019
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessy Randall
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: