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I find crumbs on the floor,
in the kitchen,
5 am,
my feet bare.
I find the electricity bill
(seconds and minutes and hours
of our washing machine washing
and the cat sits to watch
with eyes the secret affair of night and honey)
the bill crumpled with crumbs in the creases
and flour everywhere on the floor.

I doubt my English so bad
my tongue switches flour for floor flour for floor.

I know those crumbs,
not from the bread we eat.
Those crumbs
are remnants of stillborn universes,
bad choices, bad sets of parameters,
of over- or underdone apple pies,
crumbled
before the emergence of life,
before the astrobiologist's birth.

What if I step on one of them?
The pang of a crumb, the tang of a doubt, in my toe.

I follow the crumbs,
with my eyes only.
Their trail leads where,
in the gap between the white wall
and the dark side of the fridge,
not even cat-wide,
where aspirations go
(become a writer an astronomer a mother an explorer),
and cannot turn around,
and evolve into spider legs and fears,
and I sit to cry.




Florence Lenaers is a physics PhD student from Belgium. She devises plots populated with atoms and laser beams, while always on the lookout for an etymological journey. This is her first published piece. She tweets as @flloaers.
Current Issue
24 Jan 2022

Piece of my essence, accept my sorry.
Some people, right? We’ll fold you into sparrows, help you disappear—I’m so glad we found you alive
By: Katy Bond
By: Averi Kurth
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Katy Bond
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents the poetry of the 24 January issue.
Hope without action behind it is only a recipe for deeper heartache.
I love flash fiction for a lot of reasons. There’s the instant gratification of reading a complete work of fiction in just a few minutes. And there’s the way flash lends itself to playful, inventive experimentation with form, prose, style, voice, and subject. I also love the way a flash story can be honed and sharpened as everything extraneous is eliminated, and the way it can capture and convey the essence of something—an emotion, a world, a situation, a possibility, an idea, even a joke!—in brilliant brevity.
Wednesday: I am the Tiger by John Ajvide Lindqvist, translated by Marlaine Delargy 
Friday: The Tangleroot Palace Stories by Marjorie Liu 
Issue 17 Jan 2022
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By: Lev Mirov
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Dec 2021
By: Merie Kirby
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Dec 2021
By: Freydís Moon
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Dec 2021
By: C. S. E. Cooney
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: C. S. E. Cooney
Issue 29 Nov 2021
Issue 22 Nov 2021
Issue 15 Nov 2021
By: Madeline Grigg
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Nov 2021
By: Allison Parrish
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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