Size / / /

Content warning:


Your stories make me feel uneasy
Or is that just the glass slicing open
the soles of my feet?

You insist on your modernity
yet

Wolves have been menacing us
since woods were only acorns
We’ve been told
since eternity’s first grumpy yawns
that if we want out of the cinders
we must be the most beautiful
one at the ball
Even if it means
wearing the very heavens
putting up with
the sun’s exhausting heat
the moon’s cold bite
and all those spiky
bits of stars

Apparently we should abandon
classical pantheons
and structures
but not the ridiculous
creaking
insistences
you keep making of us

Only jeweled words
should escape our lips
Nothing that hisses
or snarls
And no wish we could make
is more worthy
than beauty

How curious!
How convenient!
According to you
beauty isn’t necessarily
accompanied by intellect
but intelligence may be provided
by a husband
The same husband
who might declare
a door forbidden
because it hides
his dead wives?

You would have us be
so still and quiet
never entering woods
opening doors
touching spindles
You would give us
fewer options
than you grant
a clever cat

It seems after all
ancients
and moderns
agree on some things

While engrossed
in your quarrel
here’s a thing you’ve overlooked

I
like so many of us
choose instead
to wear fancy shoes
of my choosing
and shape the world
to suit myself



Devan Barlow writes the Curses & Curtains series of fairy tales-meet-musicals fantasy novels. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in several anthologies and magazines. She can be found at her website https://devanbarlow.com/ or on Bluesky @devanbarlow.bsky.social. She reads voraciously, and can often be found hanging out with her dog.
Current Issue
13 May 2024

This variation on the elixir of life pairs the flavour of roasted roc with the medicinal potency of the philosopher’s stone. But buyer beware: this dish isn’t for everyone.
mourn and lament while mixing, then cut down a tree
At the end of every tunnel, there was an epithelium of silence that deluged the larynx.
Issue 6 May 2024
Issue 29 Apr 2024
Issue 15 Apr 2024
By: Ana Hurtado
Art by: delila
Issue 8 Apr 2024
Issue 1 Apr 2024
Issue 25 Mar 2024
By: Sammy Lê
Art by: Kim Hu
Issue 18 Mar 2024
Strange Horizons
Issue 11 Mar 2024
Issue 4 Mar 2024
Issue 26 Feb 2024
Load More