Size / / /

CONTENT WARNING:



The slow putter of motorbikes coughing
Exhaust mingling with prayer-smoke
Rubbing red-rimmed eyes
Am I awake? With the taste of last night’s sleep
Or still half-dreaming, of
The rattling of red plastic cups
The crumbling of ghost-dollars
Into ashes, blackened and paling?

Crimson candles burn
Flame-tips taper to the wind
The morning air is cooling.

We climb into cars
Headlights gutting the dark
Onto main street to join the procession
No honks but steady inches forward.

The temple coils with smoke.
A parade, a veneration
I fumble for my basket:
Yellow, with chicken and pork,
Orange, apples, flour-cakes,
And a shiver. We walk
Into the crowd
Sounds of devotion fill my ears
Eyes stinging (from smoke? or grief?)
I bow my head
Joss in hand, to plunge in ash
Muttering words to a half-hearted prayer.

And again the car
Our bodies packed like matchsticks,
Sharing air gone stale.

Now clamber
Onto paths, mud-slick
Smeared with the tracks of past climbers
Trampling wild-grass and crunching leaves
A breath, heaved out
And a glance skywards
At grey clouds; rumbling rain
As we lay down offerings;
Slash tea and wine across crimson cups.

I do not believe in ghosts
Only wind and a crackling fire
(And a voice telling me I am not alone)

Ghost-dollars spill from the embers
Of a burning box, fenced in joss
I see faces closed in prayer
I put my hands together and mouth the words
I do not believe, but then
I do not know what draws us here.

Is this piety, candle piety?
Or a lamentation:
That we have not yet found rest
That we have not gone to our slumber
That the world is here and they are gone
And left us bereft, to live our autumn lives.



Marcus Chan daydreams, writes, and is probably too fond of a good turn of phrase. Even odds are that he’ll wander through his twenties with a book in one hand and a pencil in the other, happily scribbling away.
Current Issue
19 Oct 2020

We wear the masks long after penguins have been extinguished. By now we are hauntresses, hordes of extinction shuffling along the city streets under the excruciating weathers of this brutal world we’ve inherited. Individually, we are called pinguinos. It’s something to do; the world is depressed and none of us have jobs.
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Noah Bogdonoff's “Ask Not What the Penguin Horde Can Do For You.”
I may be eyeless but I can see through the eyes of everyone and everything. My parents put cameras all over the house
By: Aber O. Grand
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Aber O. Grand's “Marbles.”
Fiction submissions will close for November-December 2020. This means that the last window for general fiction submissions in 2020 will be October 26-27. Get your stories ready or hold them until January 2021. Fiction submissions for the Palestinian Special issue will open in November 2020!
Issue 12 Oct 2020
By: Elisabeth R. Moore
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Jean
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 5 Oct 2020
By: J.L. Akagi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Lesley Wheeler
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Lesley Wheeler
Issue 28 Sep 2020
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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
Load More
%d bloggers like this: