Size / / /

CONTENT WARNING:


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
10 Feb 2020

This house was too small for six people, woefully so, but it’s too big for one; the empty rooms fill up with spirits.
By: Shannon Sanders
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Shannon Sanders's “Company.”
Please follow the instructions for reading this poem: 1. Imagine a cage. Any cage, of any size. 2. Love the cage. The cage is your friend.
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Gabriel Ascencio Morales's “Abstraction,” with a designed sound environment.
Issue 3 Feb 2020
By: Ada Hoffmann
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: S.R. Tombran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Jan 2020
By: Julianna Baggott
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Terese Mason Pierre
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Terese Mason Pierre
Issue 6 Jan 2020
By: Mitchell Shanklin
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 23 Dec 2019
By: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Dec 2019
By: Osahon Ize-Iyamu
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liu Chengyu
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Dec 2019
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessy Randall
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Dec 2019
By: Sheldon Costa
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mari Ness
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 25 Nov 2019
By: Nisa Malli
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nisa Malli
Load More
%d bloggers like this: