Size / / /

Seek the pusher in the bands

of shadow cordoning the trees.

Silver glitters in his cratered eyes,

pockets pregnant

with moondust in dimebags.

He dangles one,

flicks it so the residue settles,

holy manna from an astronaut's boot.

Once was, for the thrill he sells,

you signed away a soul.

Now it's cheap as a little blood

left dripping on the holly, a grope

swiftly ended beneath hawthorn spines,

or the bark peeled from a memory

that matters to no one but you:

see it come to life and wriggle

in his stunted hands.

His rat teeth flash, reflections

of the glow from your bag.

Draw your hood tight, and don't let his fingers

press against yours too long.

Soon barricaded in the closet

of your room, alone

with the famished dark; pull the spoon

from your mouth, let something sour

drip into your dreams and burn

a page to set the mixture boiling.

Savor this dollop of alchemy,

this dribble of ectoplasm, your voyage

beyond the coral shelf

of the bloodstream. The boosters

have survived the launch,

no need for a new needle.

But the expedition always ends too soon.




Mike Allen is president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and editor of the speculative poetry journal Mythic Delirium. With Roger Dutcher, Mike is also editor of The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, which for the first time collects the Rhysling Award-winning poems from 1978 to 2004 in one volume. His newest poetry collection, Disturbing Muses, is out from Prime Books, with a second collection, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead, soon to follow. Mike's poems can also be found in Nebula Awards Showcase 2005, both editions of The 2005 Rhysling Anthology, and the Strange Horizons archives.
Current Issue
29 Nov 2021

It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that our donor's choice special issue for 2021 is titled—simply—Friendship.
The year before this, the girls at school had called her Little Lila .
Pictures of me that day are kept in the ship’s files, sent back to Earth to be used in my captors’ eventual war crimes tribunals.
Perhaps a new urban system of star navigation is needed
This world, covered in spectral ebullience, was tied together by bows of light
Are you a good witch / or a bad witch? / as if there’s an answer earned, inscribed in bubbles reflecting an inverse crown.
When does the pursuit of pure thought, pure idealism, pure escapism become detrimental?
Wednesday: The Best of World SF, Volume 1, edited by Lavie Tidhar 
Friday: Anti-Life by Vee Tat Lam 
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
Issue 1 Nov 2021
By: Liam Corley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Liam Corley
Issue 25 Oct 2021
Strange Horizons
Issue 18 Oct 2021
By: K. Ceres Wright
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Oct 2021
By: Lisabelle Tay
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 4 Oct 2021
By: Anthony Okpunor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Oct 2021
Podcast: Fund Drive 2021 Poetry 
By: Michael Meyerhofer
By: Wale Ayinla
Podcast read by: Michael Meyerhofer
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
29 Sep 2021
Opening to fiction submissions for the month of November!
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