Size / / /


Born in the dense
and changing shade
of nature wilding,

perverse and surreal
in its beauty,
wherever I travel

on Earth or beyond,
the forest stains
my life and thought.

And when I sleep
safe in the shade
of civilization,

its rules and culture
and fashioned ways,
my youth returns

as a shadow dream
of emerald possession,
vital and protean

in its refrain,
darkly errant
as life unreined.


Embracing a belief
that casts the Savior
in a feline image,

she yearned to virgin
birth the Second Coming
as a bestial miracle.

Instead she has gathered
an army of urban strays,
longhaired and short,

alley to pure Siamese,
who roam her house
and cluster on her bed.

Steadfast in her fervor,
she sleeps naked beneath
a shifting coverlet

of ragged purrs and
velvet furs and claws
like thorns of faith.


He migrated from the
Chicago Dome still
green behind the ears

to discover another
variety of green
far more knowing.

He has never strayed
from the boundaries
of this wilderness

since falling prey
to its savage and
intense intoxications.

He lives in the moment
and sleeps with all
his senses alive.

You might find him
in a clearing
with knives in hand,

daubed like a native,
poised as a beast,
slaughtering some

vivid monstrosity
for its mutant meat
and mutant hide.


Come with me and
I will be your guide.
I will show you

tribes of albino lemurs
with iridescent eyes,
fire-breathing bats

and mushrooms that fly,
sabered panthers standing
sixteen hands high.

Do not be afraid.
These armored transports
are nearly invulnerable

Don't mind the scales
that line my flesh.
They are not contagious.

But when I command you
to look away . . . obey!
It is not your body

that is in danger,
but your spirit
and your mind.


Copyright © 2003 Bruce Boston

Reader Comments

Bruce Boston is the author of thirty-two books, including the novel Stained Glass Rain. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including Asimov's, Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and the Nebula Awards Showcase, and won numerous awards, including the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Bruce's previous publications in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive. For more about him, visit his website.

Author's Note: The setting of this poem is part of a series of poems, many written in collaboration with Robert Frazier. For those interested in further exploring the Mutant Rain Forest, most of the poems can be found in Chronicles of the Mutant Rain Forest (Horror's Head, 1992), the first shared-world genre poetry collection.

Bruce Boston is the author of forty-seven books and chapbooks, including the novels The Guardener's Tale and Stained Glass Rain. His writing has received the Bram Stoker Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Asimov's Readers Award, and the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. You can read more about him at and see some of his previous work in our archives.
Current Issue
29 Nov 2021

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