Size / / /

The baseheads call me Daddy Luzz like I'm fly.

I was my momma's first, a cream-faced baby boy.

Pops thought I was ace, raised me like a king,

named me for the light of the Las Vegas sun.

Or maybe pale Lucifer. No one would know

to see me now: sun burnt my skin as dark as Coke.

In college, I gene-spliced corn to make cocaine.

With a chemistry book in my hand, I could fly.

I wish I'd made Christian use of what I know,

but like Momma said, "Folly, thy name be Boy."

She hoped I'd be a NASA man blazing past the sun,

but my Supernaut Jiffypop made me campus king.

It's a crackbrain thing to think you're king;

I tossed around cash from frankenstein coke

and party girls loved me like God's risen son.

But I was just a buzzing mosquito, a robber fly

sucking profit from the uptown mobster boys

who lectured me with fists and guns. I knew

to blow to cowtowns where I wasn't known.

Spit-quick, I found hilljack saviors: Mr. King

and Passie Fay made me their moonshine boy,

kept me copsafe while I cropped up their coke.

For a while, life was stingless as a butterfly.

I took a woman, built my manor in the sun.

My wife stroked out giving birth to our son.

When I held bawling Russ, in my gut I knew

it was time to get real, get straight, time to fly.

That wasn't The Man's pharming plan. Ol' King

flared hot as a blast furnace combusting coke

when I asked if I could stop. He said, "Boy,

I'll throw you to the narcs; they'll bury your boy

in the county home while you bust rocks in the sun."

So. I've plotted our route while I plow out the coke.

I found a broken-down turboprop in a barn. I know

more than chemistry and genes: engineering's king.

With parts and practice, my boy and I can fly.

I've got to keep my son safe; I've got to quit this coke.

Russ thinks he'll be Sky King; boy's gotta watch the sun,

fly for the sea, get free of this mazed-up life I've known.

Lucy A. Snyder frequently escaped into Clive Barker's worlds when she was in darkest academia pursuing her MA in journalism. She is the author of Sparks and Shadows, Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (from which Strange Horizons has published an excerpt), and the forthcoming Del Rey novel Spellbent. Her writing has also appeared in publications such as Farthing, Masques V, Chiaroscuro, Greatest Uncommon Denominator, and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. You can learn more about her at
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17 Jun 2024

To fly is to deny death / as the body’s natural state
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By: Ana Hurtado
Art by: delila
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