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I think I am decomposing.

Wrapped in the linens you brought me,
your strong mother’s hands winding them
around and around
around
and
around
until I was cocooned in a shell of flax and camphor,
bergamot and crushed honeysuckle.
Now the sacred oils slick my melting skin.
One form to another, you whispered,
and I think, one form to another, as
the linens pull tighter, squeezing my bones,
crushing them into sharp fragmented shards
like the seashells we gathered when I was a child,
still living in a child’s form.

You never told me I would be awake.
You never told me I would be aware

as the oils seep in between the atoms of my body,
stretching them apart,
whispering to the strands of my DNA that
it is time, now, to let go of my youth, so
careless and ephemeral, with a body to match,
a body never meant to be eternal.
It is time for me to turn hard and beautiful,
an indestructible thing who can bear the
horrors of the universe on her shoulders.
Skin like stone armor,
teeth like glass daggers,
eyes like red suns.

In a month’s time,
when your strong mother’s hands peel the
linens away, I will be transformed:
No longer your daughter
but a soldier
a weapon
an act of violence.

Until that moment comes, I am
nothing but genetic matter. The only
stage of my life when
I am nothing but myself.



Cassandra Rose Clarke grew up in south Texas and currently lives in a suburb of Houston, where she writes and teaches composition at a pair of local colleges. She holds an M.A. in creative writing from The University of Texas at Austin, and in 2010 she attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in Seattle. Her work has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, and YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her latest novel is Star's End, forthcoming from Saga Press. Visit her online at www.cassandraroseclarke.com
Current Issue
18 Jan 2021

Splinters, old and new. How else can the skin remember the tree? If it hurts, that is the point.
By: Fatima Taqvi
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Courtney Floyd presents "Secrets of the Kath' by Fatima Taqvi. The full text of the story is available here.
Soft Shoulder speaking softly / quick-stop-tongued lanky cur dog / lisping languid in jeans
By: Zach Ozma
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Zach Ozma
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Zach Ozma's “Soft Shoulder (Excerpt)” with a reading by the poet.
The way I see it, this story is full of symbolic touchstones, visual elements with layers of meaning that are not always obvious, or even accessible, to the reader.
Wednesday: Bulbbul 
Issue 11 Jan 2021
By: Ryu Ando
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Nikki Caffier Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 4 Jan 2021
By: Maya Beck
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Burt
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Stephanie Burt
Issue 21 Dec 2020
By: Octavia Cade
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Meep Matsushima
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Meep Matsushima
Issue 14 Dec 2020
By: ML Kejera
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Brigid Nemeton
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Brigid Nemeton
7 Dec 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for the Palestinian Special issue! The issue, edited by Rasha Abdulhadi and Basma Ghalayini will be published at the end of March 2021. We are open for submissions from now until January 31, 2021. Don't wait till the end to send your work!
7 Dec 2020
تقديم الطلبات مفتوح من الان و حتى تاريخ 31 يناير 2021. قدم/ قدمي عملك عاجلا و ليس آجلا!
Issue 7 Dec 2020
By: Toby MacNutt
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Anna Cates
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Dec 2020
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Ateri Miyawatl
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Adam Coon
By: Vraiux Dorós
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
By: Luz Rosales
Translated by: Andrea Chapela
By: Libia Brenda
Translated by: Allana C. Noyes
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast read by: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast: Bromelia (English) 
Podcast: Bromelia (Español) 
Issue 23 Nov 2020
By: Michael Bazzett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Michael Bazzett
Issue 16 Nov 2020
By: Cat Aquino
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Michael Chang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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