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A thousand chairs are like a thousand plateaus.
How elegant! How delicate! Not all as iconic

as Eames, the Egg, or the Wishbone. How strange,
mundane mass-produced disposable furniture

fills a million houses with its ancient dead fish eyes.
Where are those recherché chairs?

Why are we living with these replicas of dead fish?
These thousand chairs lying in books, in museums, in images!

But not in the rooms of every day.
Once I made a chair.

Styrofoam sheets wrapped around multi-shaped bodies
to find a good proportion—comfortable, sittable.

I built a model chair in Rhino. A skeleton ¼ inch in diameter,
with the drawings of plans, elevations, and sections.

I rang up eleven ironmen, only one of them
took my drawings and money.

His name was Ironman L.
The day I saw him,

12 steel tubes with a diameter of ¼ inch
lay on the concrete floor in his iron factory

Ironman L caressed and bent them
on a metal brake turning the straight tubes into curves

welded them together into the chair I designed—
skinny, graceful. Yet also mottled with creeping rust stains.

I ran to hug it, carried it back along the Schuylkill River
like two sacks of rice.

In the “spray room” I scrubbed it with sandpaper
hard like the Korean scrubbers scrub the backs

of the bathers with a scrub towel in a Jjimjilbang.
Bright white primer slicked the steel.

Creamy white paints, like fresh milk, sprinkled,
snowflaked onto the smooth skin of the back and legs.

Sheep yarns weaved across each other and the skeleton.
After three nights, a surface appeared like a new landscape.

Pom-pom balls attached to yarn, growing
like millions of dandelion seed-heads waving in a field.

Yarn hung from the pom-pom balls,
under the surface, like roots in spring.

Seeds of dandelions fly away,
sprout and grow again in another place.

The Growing Chair moves with me
from house to house, from place to place.

I carry it like two sacks of rice. It always stands
in the most important spot in my room.

I never sit on it.

Shuyi Yin is a PhD student in historic preservation at Columbia University, where she studies the relationship among politics, heritage, media, and memory. Inspired by poetry’s magic tapestry, Shuyi has a passion for reading and writing poetry.
Current Issue
27 Mar 2023

close calls when / I’m with Thee / dressed to the nines
they took to their heels but the bird was faster.
In this episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Reviews Editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland talk to novelist, reviewer, and Strange Horizons’ Co-ordinating Editor, Gautam Bhatia, about how reviewing and criticism of all kinds align—and do not—with fiction-writing and the genre more widely.
If the future is here, but unevenly distributed, then so is the past.
He claims that Redlow used to be a swamp and he has now brought them into the future before the future. Yes he said that.
My previous Short Fiction Treasures column was all about science fiction, so it’s only fair that the theme this time around is fantasy.
I’ve come to think of trans-inclusive worldbuilding as an activist project in itself, or at least analogous to the work of activists. When we imagine other worlds, we have to observe what rules we are creating to govern the characters, institutions, and internal logic in our stories. This means looking at gender from the top down, as a regulatory system, and from the bottom up, at the people on the margins whose bodies and lives stand in some kind of inherent opposition to the system itself.
Wednesday: And Lately, The Sun edited by Calyx Create Group 
Friday: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White 
Issue 20 Mar 2023
Issue 13 Mar 2023
Issue 6 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Feb 2023
Issue 13 Feb 2023
Issue 6 Feb 2023
Issue 30 Jan 2023
By: Catherine Rockwood
By: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Catherine Rockwood
Podcast read by: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Maureen Kincaid Speller
Issue 23 Jan 2023
Issue 16 Jan 2023
Issue 9 Jan 2023
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