Size / / /

Content warning:


We tunnel out of creases in the green-blue sky
   toward sparkling treetops
   on the curve of plantlit earth.

We hum across the photoverdant vineyards—
   rose and hemlock, root-rich dirt
   and birch, and leaf of pine.

Like green light burning in the stars—
   We hum and hover treetop-high.
   And then a glare of lights appears

And strobes along behind the pines—
   Hollow, pale lights. Nonphotosynthesizable
   light. In motion. On a dead black strip.

We tunnel to the hillside, where the light
   is lumbering, propelled by
   deep voltaic rage—

We make our slow descent—
   we de-electrify its psyche,
   which is like a lightning-thicket—

Its warlike loneliness bites us—
   The box stalls willingly. Its lights go dark.
   —All quiet on the blacktop strip.

The jackpines laugh, and we anesthetize
   the power source and lift it
   gently to ourself.

We calm its fear. We strip away its coverings.
   We numb it. Scan. We scrape
   and soothe. We drill, extract,

replace, insert and gouge. We warn:
   Neglect of inner power
   wrecks the outer life;

neglect of outer life will wreck
   the inner power. We look
   like devils to this bonsai mind.

We tag, reclothe and then return the lonely power
   to its box.—We overset the tangle
   with a dream of blue-green light,

And while electric rage regenerates
   and lights the jackpines
   shifting in the verdant, starlit breeze—

We tunnel out for home to try to learn
   how psychic storms survive to power flesh
   and consciousness boils from photosynthesis,

   before the feeble body of our race winks out.



      A man may see how the world goes with no eyes.
   Look with thine ears.

The red glow of the clock radio.
The bluish haze of streetlights
in the window. Is it? Wait—
a dream, a dream. My kingdom for a dream.

A coolness on my ankle, like a hoof.
Gently rising out of bed, and motion,
like an incubus exhaling on a breeze.

Not again.
Why me?

Teardrop eyes like giant walnuts
stare from whitish, wrinkled figs
detached from stalks. I'm looking up.
Glassy blackish eyes,
they're pinning me. I try to buck.
They stole my clothes again.
I’m on the table face up, again.
Again, a probe. Again
a twisting, deep and cold
and rigid, bruising.

Calm, say walnut eyes.
Small discomforts, say the deep opaquenesses
that stare like shrunken moons from nothing
into nothing. Here, me, naked,
nothing, animal with fear.

      Standing in a boxlike room.
I see my feet. Yellow-blue light, like fog.
Naked hairless calves, attached to the feet.
Fig heads float to me with a shirt.
My left hand finds a sleeve, slides in.
My thumb slips through the silklike cloth.
The shirt hangs like a halter
on my shoulder. A shoulder bare.
I can't think what to do.
I see my breasts, they ache.
A bent hand gently lifts another sleeve.
My right hand slides along the silklike tunnel.

No shadows in the gauzy light.
A bench along a wall
where I could rest. I take a step.
Foot slaps floor.
Bone-gaunt giant digits
guide me to the center of the stall.
The silklike shirt is still unbuttoned.
Breasts are arching there, I see them
in the distance, aching hills.
Thighs cold. Legs cold, skin white.
Brown pubic puckerbrush.
The pain—

All calm, say glassy eyes.
Small discomforts, say the blacknesses.
I think I'm screaming.
Bone-bent fingers press my arm
with nickel coolness, like the stable boy
who soothes the frightened mare.

Whose semen did you run up into me,
and mix with what? I think to scream,
but voices interrupt with voiceless cool.
All calm. The moonblack eyes.

The morning sun crystallizes
on the hardwood floor beside the bed.
Clock red digits slow to focus.
Morning misery. I'm late.
My eyes feel sore and pink.
My muscles ache. All night
I ran in dreams from Cossacks
small enough to crush
between your thighs.
I call my boyfriend.
“Now I think I'm pregnant.”
His silence says it all.

Let it be a dream, a dream,
The lather of an overactive id.
Let it not be true.
Sweet heaven, let it be unreal

Dana Wilde’s writings have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, and The Quest, among many others. His recent books include Summer to Fall: Notes and Numina in the Maine Woods and Nebulae: A Backyard Cosmography. He lives in Troy, Maine, USA.
Current Issue
13 May 2024

This variation on the elixir of life pairs the flavour of roasted roc with the medicinal potency of the philosopher’s stone. But buyer beware: this dish isn’t for everyone.
mourn and lament while mixing, then cut down a tree
At the end of every tunnel, there was an epithelium of silence that deluged the larynx.
Issue 6 May 2024
Issue 29 Apr 2024
Issue 15 Apr 2024
By: Ana Hurtado
Art by: delila
Issue 8 Apr 2024
Issue 1 Apr 2024
Issue 25 Mar 2024
By: Sammy Lê
Art by: Kim Hu
Issue 18 Mar 2024
Strange Horizons
Issue 11 Mar 2024
Issue 4 Mar 2024
Issue 26 Feb 2024
Load More