Size / / /

My facial muscles contract in preparation
to expel a communicator.
I reach into my nose and pull out a rainbow tapeworm
as a token of goodbye;
you place it in your palm and examine it carefully
a tiny, jiggling streak of color
then snort it, playing for keeps.

The worm is a stroke of light in my consciousness
always just beyond my field of view,
sometimes a pale pastel orange, sometimes a ripe yellow
or a tinkling, scintillating green.
It whispers your words in sensations of taste
and delicate touch,
as through threadbare linen.

It tells me you're alive and well and flaring
across a purple sky in your spaceproof cocoon,
leaving beyond contrails tracing
messages to bear-cubs and insects
down planetside.

It tells me you are quicksilver,
flowing through gaps in
the aged monuments left behind by warlocks
of an unknown species,
always exploring, never relenting.

It tells me you're unsatisfied,
seeking to drink your fill
of white-hot glorious pain
and a brash bronze pleasure,
streaming down your throat
as you swallow,
in time with your tears.

What do you see of me?
I live sandwiched in between rectangular walls
painted a nondescript gray,
a hundred stories underground
on a planet without an atmosphere.
I crave these little flares
of information and heart,
knowing I can offer precious little
of my lived experience in return.

Why do you love me, I wonder
as I lie back on my cot
and listen to the nighttime sounds
of the dormitory, the sneezes
rustles and coughs.
Our recycled air is always dry.
Why do you need me?
Do you see all the gray?

I can only offer my inside,
where buildings grow like mushrooms
and insect-mobiles race across
fiberglass caverns
lit by crystal clouds
shining from their core,
I can only offer the dreams
where I stumble across walls
and then fall, shouting
not in fear but in the raw
exhilaration of joy
induced by the motion that tears
my flesh apart;
I can only offer my thoughts.

They shine like razor-thin beams
across the deep blue of
conceptual space,
they wrap around at the edges
and enable me to hug myself
in your absence,
they are manifold and mysterious,
of a puzzling origin
somewhere deep down in my mind
where it all turns inside out,
interfaces with the world.

Is that what you need?
The worm shifts inside my head
with a resonance of you,
providing a quiet answer
a self-contained riot of lights.

Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish agender trans person and a resident alien in the US. E writes both fiction and poetry, and eir work has been published in a variety of venues like Strange Horizons, Clarkesworldand Apex, among others. E reviews diverse fiction, poetry, and nonfiction at Bogi Reads the World. You can follow em on Twitter at @bogiperson. Bogi also has a webserial, Iwunen Interstellar Investigations.
Current Issue
29 Nov 2021

It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that our donor's choice special issue for 2021 is titled—simply—Friendship.
The year before this, the girls at school had called her Little Lila .
Pictures of me that day are kept in the ship’s files, sent back to Earth to be used in my captors’ eventual war crimes tribunals.
Perhaps a new urban system of star navigation is needed
This world, covered in spectral ebullience, was tied together by bows of light
Are you a good witch / or a bad witch? / as if there’s an answer earned, inscribed in bubbles reflecting an inverse crown.
When does the pursuit of pure thought, pure idealism, pure escapism become detrimental?
Issue 22 Nov 2021
Issue 15 Nov 2021
By: Madeline Grigg
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Nov 2021
By: Allison Parrish
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Nov 2021
By: Liam Corley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Liam Corley
Issue 25 Oct 2021
Strange Horizons
Issue 18 Oct 2021
By: K. Ceres Wright
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Oct 2021
By: Lisabelle Tay
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 4 Oct 2021
By: Anthony Okpunor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Oct 2021
Podcast: Fund Drive 2021 Poetry 
By: Michael Meyerhofer
By: Wale Ayinla
Podcast read by: Michael Meyerhofer
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
29 Sep 2021
Opening to fiction submissions for the month of November!
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