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She lived on lentils and barley
with a crippled cat and three unopened
boxes: silver, gold, and lead.

With no one to warn or instruct her,
she didn't know how to choose.

Her mother held a large knife
at her throat and claimed to be a pirate.

Her father left her every day
for many years.

She heard the air conditioner
channeling a radio talk show
from . . . elsewhere. She could almost
articulate the words.

The voice said, "you can stay with me
and be happy, or leave and be miserable
the rest of your life," but the voice
sounded cold.

She went for a walk.
At the end of the path,
she was greeted by three raccoons.

She left the choice to them.




Sara Backer is the winner of the 2015 Turtle Island Poetry Award for her chapbook Bicycle Lotus published by Left Fork. Her speculative poems have appeared in A cappella Zoo, Asimov's Science Fiction, Dreams + Nightmares, Gargoyle, Illumen, The Pedestal, and many more. Her website is sarabacker.com.
Current Issue
18 May 2020

“Have you seen the DEATH/GRIP Challenge meme?” Benito Oliveira said. “Yeah, it’s pretty funny,” she said. “It’s people pretending not to kill something with their off hand,” he said, as though she hadn’t responded.
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Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Johnny Compton's “The DEATH/GRIP Challenge.”
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Issue 11 May 2020
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Issue 6 Apr 2020
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