Size / / /

CONTENT WARNING:


Here’s a story I have been dying to tell

about how Death, in the form of a cat,

 

loitered in my dreams, luring me to let her

into my home, meowing shrilly if I didn’t,

if I as much as tried to make it

to the door with no sign of letting her in.

 

The air was like a current, buoying her voice

across the fence so that I began to fear

her nuisance would sooner become mine.

 

She made me believe that I was her friend,

climbing into my lap and licking my palm.

Gratitude crowded the small rooms of my heart

and then, in the midst of all the happiness,

I clearly heard her ask, in a voice

part human and part cat: Can I stay the night?

 

I tried to move my tongue, at least to scream

but it had turned leaden like cement.

 

It was then I started to seek a way out.

I rushed to the door and worked the handle

but it had been locked from outside.

 

A strong wind came in and snuffed out the lights

so that I could hear the cat but not see it.

What did it mean to believe to hate your life

but not enough to let someone end it?

 

Where was this cat? The strong wind made her cry

so elusive I went down on my knees

and crawled every area of the room,

crying, knocking down furniture, bleeding,

but there was no way I could feel the pain.

 

The cat must have been seeing me clearly

with her nocturnal eyes, how was it

that my life was tied to an animal’s?

It had to be Death for soon enough,

amidst all the windy chaos, a chorus

tolled in my ears – die, die – but I didn’t die.



Okwudili Nebeolisa is a Nigerian writer whose poems have previously appeared in Threepenny Review, Fireside Magazine, and Strange Horizons, and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by The Cincinnati Review, Salamander Magazine, and Beloit Poetry Journal. His nonfiction has appeared in Catapult and Commonwealth Writers. You can follow him on Twitter @NebeolisaO.
Current Issue
28 Sep 2020

disaster arrived; it is a promise
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Maggie Damken's “Undiscovered Hells,” with a designed sound environment.
Although the science fiction community has engaged in a significant, concerted, and necessary effort to correct for many of Campbell’s prejudices surrounding race and gender, there has yet to be a similar corrective effort on matters concerning class and labour.
The unofficial theme for this Short Fiction Treasures column is “arts, crafts, and work.” Whether the art, craft, or work is the main theme of the story, or whether it’s there as background and setting, it can add a level of immersion and satisfying texture to speculative fiction that I find irresistible.
Issue 21 Sep 2020
By: Aqdas Aftab
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: David Clink
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Sep 2020
By: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Blackford
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Sep 2020
By: Catherynne M. Valente
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Bethany Powell
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bethany Powell
Issue 31 Aug 2020
By: R.B. Lemberg
By: Julia Rios
By: Sonya Taaffe
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: R.B. Lemberg
Podcast read by: Julia Rios
Podcast read by: Sonya Taaffe
Issue 24 Aug 2020
By: Leslie J. Anderson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Leslie J. Anderson
Issue 17 Aug 2020
By: Emma Törzs
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liz Adair
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Aug 2020
By: Anya Johanna DeNiro
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Laura Cranehill
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 3 Aug 2020
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Issue 20 Jul 2020
By: Ranylt Richildis
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: JD Fox
By: JD Fox
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: JD Fox
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for our Mexico Special issue, which will be published at the end of November 2020!
Load More
%d bloggers like this: