Size / / /

For H.P. Lovecraft

(And Caitlín R. Kiernan)

Under the gallows

you open a hanged man up like a book

for practice—

teach by doing.

Call the cubs forth, even

those halflings cursed

with human faces

and show them:

Here, look here, look.

Madame, Madame;

I know I am not made to dance

to either tune, not with

my light-glazed eyes, my knees

set backwards. Not with

my forefinger longer than its nearest fellow,

black nails with their rim of razor

awaiting just the right

Inquisitor's beckoning.

I give myself away.

I apologize, simply for

existing,

never having chosen

to exist.

Down in the cellar, those faint noises—

my relatives come calling.

Unexpected, yet not

unwelcome.

(I am not as you: True.

And yet, I am still

more as you than either of us

would like to think.)

At least, when the skin is peeled away

we are all flesh, blood, guts—

a red-bone rosary, fit for telling.

Not soundless depth, awful dream,

darkness wave-locked

and waiting.

For when that dream is over—

(and this one, too)—

when cold descends and the sun goes out

we will huddle close

for warmth, amongst the tombs,

our two great cultures reduced

to a tumult of cemeteries.

Awkward, insides steaming,

we will share

a final communion—

meat, as memory.

The only thing left to prove

we ever squatted

on the void's thin skin

together.




Former film critic and teacher turned award-winning horror writer Gemma Files is best known for her Hexslinger Series, now collected in omnibus form (ChiZine Publications). She has also published two collections of short fiction and two chapbooks of poetry. Her next book is We Will All Go Down Together: A Novel in Stories About the Five-Family Coven (also from CZP). Her website is here.
Current Issue
9 Dec 2019

“Full ahead, Mister Sal,” says Moore. I grit my teeth and force the Anastasis forward. The engines, the strongest of any ship I’ve ever steered, screech and whine like dying things. The nightgaunts are ten deep around us and it’s like flying through tar.
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents SL Harris's “Into the Eye.”
I stand in a cell for suffrage.
By: Jessy Randall
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Jessy Randall's “Mary Agnes Chase (1869-1963).”
Wednesday: Sharp and Sugar Tooth edited by Octavia Cade 
Friday: David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa 
Issue 2 Dec 2019
By: Sheldon Costa
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mari Ness
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 25 Nov 2019
By: Nisa Malli
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nisa Malli
Issue 18 Nov 2019
By: Marika Bailey
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alicia Cole
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Nov 2019
By: Rivqa Rafael
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mary McMyne
By: Ugonna-Ora Owoh
Podcast read by: Mary McMyne
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 28 Oct 2019
By: Kelly Stewart
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kelly Stewart
Monday: Aniara 
,
Issue 21 Oct 2019
By: Omar William Sow
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Amy H. Robinson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Oct 2019
By: Kevin Wabaunsee
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Oct 2019
By: Charles Payseur
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Davian Aw
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Sep 2019
By: Kali de los Santos
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Heitor Zen
Podcast read by: Julia Quandt
By: Sérgio Motta
Podcast read by: Sérgio Motta
By: Isa Prospero
Podcast read by: Solaine Chioro
Monday: 3% 
,
Issue 23 Sep 2019
By: August Huerta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: