Size / / /

Content warning:

Maintain a sound aesthetic, our motto. We remember
our fur waving, as we set down into this new atmosphere,
as we chewed through each new dream
and made sure to sing the facts back in key.
Drawn there by our search of the maternal, our instinct ticked
all the boxes. What emotional plunder.

On this earth there were once saloons so riotous
the dust motes grew gunmetal, miserly.
Blank looking people under an unnoticed moon
stared blinking into their palms. Animals shit where they pleased.
The early sun. The horizon a seam our ship slipped into.
What various sentiments, we noted, our tentacles soft
against the floor of the ship. On this earth
there was always greasy rain falling;
a world filled with men who slid lottery tickets
through little slots in plexiglass doors,
in every neighborhood boxes of holiday decor
soggy in the yard, and we saw how the dwellings sagged,
how they listed, sad in the milky mist.

And the mothers. The mothers were frothy,
were mad, so tender and desperate.

We sensed clearly the notes of chaos,
decided then to bring the young ones out.

Descended to wait, watch, take notes.

They were sensational, had such range.
So we stuck ourselves tightly to the walls,

noticed one particularly bright She.

Others came later, came too. Because we wanted
them for our own, to study them:

their colors, the way their little fingers curled. How often
the mothers truncated their play. And that toxic, warming world.

We whispered among ourselves, set a plan in motion
for a slick enclosure: nest, light, hill, stars.

Translate this, we said.

We have to admit we slipped in it a little.

But they had already lost many miles of beach.
They had already begun covering all the sofas with sheets.

Kristina Erny is a third-culture poet who grew up in South Korea. She holds an MFA from the University of Arizona, and currently lives and works in Shanghai, China, where she teaches at an international school with her partner and their three children. Her first book of poetry, Elijah Fed by Ravens, is forthcoming in 2024 from Solum Literary Press. Find more of her work at, and on Instagram: @kristina.erny.
Current Issue
25 Sep 2023

People who live in glass houses are surrounded by dirt birds
After a century, the first colony / of bluebirds flew out of my mouth.
Over and over the virulent water / beat my flame down to ash
In this episode of  Critical Friends , the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Aisha and Dan talk to critic and poet Catherine Rockwood about how reviewing and criticism feed into creative practice. Also, pirates.
Writing authentic stories may require you to make the same sacrifice. This is not a question of whether or not you are ready to write indigenous literature, but whether you are willing to do so. Whatever your decision, continue to be kind to indigenous writers. Do not ask us why we are not famous or complain about why we are not getting support for our work. There can only be one answer to that: people are too busy to care. At least you care, and that should be enough to keep my culture alive.
Issue 18 Sep 2023
Issue 11 Sep 2023
Issue 4 Sep 2023
Issue 28 Aug 2023
Issue 21 Aug 2023
Issue 14 Aug 2023
Issue 7 Aug 2023
Issue 31 Jul 2023
Issue 24 Jul 2023
Issue 17 Jul 2023
Load More
%d bloggers like this: