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
20 Sep 2021

Jaysee reported to decontamination, wondering why there hadn’t been a revolt by the augmented long before.
By: Clara Ward
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
In this episode of the Strange Horizons fiction podcast, editor Kat Kourbeti presents Clara Ward's "Motivation Augmentation."
"When we die again, I want to come back as a little brown bat," / I tell the only other person alive.
Art by: Courtney Skaggs
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Courtney Skaggs' “The Little Death After the Apocalypse.”
Issue 13 Sep 2021
By: Steve Castro
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Sep 2021
By: Yuna Kang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Yuna Kang
By: B. Pladek
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 30 Aug 2021
By: Ian Goh
By: Andy Winter
By: Yong-Yu Huang
By: Sunny Vuong
By: Natalie Wang
By: Mark Dimaisip
By: Yvanna Vien Tica
By: Jack Kin Lim
By: May Chong
By: P. H. Low
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Ian Goh
Podcast read by: Yong-Yu Huang
Podcast read by: Sunny Vuong
Podcast read by: Natalie Wang
Podcast read by: Mark Dimaisip
Podcast read by: Yvanna Vien Tica
Podcast read by: Jack Kin Lim
Podcast read by: May Chong
Podcast read by: P. H. Low
Issue 23 Aug 2021
By: Hannah V Warren
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Aug 2021
By: Bryce A. Taylor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bryce A. Taylor
Issue 9 Aug 2021
By: P. H. Low
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 3 Aug 2021
By: H. Pueyo
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
By: M. Regan
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 26 Jul 2021
By: Mary Soon Lee
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Mary Soon Lee
Issue 19 Jul 2021
By: Ian Rosales Casocot
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Nora Claire Miller
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nora Claire Miller
Issue 12 Jul 2021
By: Dante Novario
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Dante Novario
Podcast: Data Migration 
Load More
%d bloggers like this: