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Editor’s Note: This poem is part of Strange Horizons’ twentieth anniversary special issue. Strange Horizons published two or three of Sonya Taaffe's poems each year from 2007 through 2010. In 2011, Sonya became poetry editor of Strange Horizons, and continued in that role through 2018, at one time comprising the entire department.

for Lila Garrott

Come, my beloved, still so shy,
so many husbands consigned to your embrace
like onions headfirst to the ground,
no wonder you wrapped yourself in your father’s forgetfulness
and fled the world, hunting for the bitter drop.
Lead me out, the groom among the gravestones
that crowd this blackest of weddings
like beggars to the dance.
The demon-king himself would have raised you temples,
but mine was the mouth you drank from, a cup of pearls.
Let the names we buried keep your father looking
too late to bless us
beneath the canopy of his suffocating wings.

Sonya Taaffe reads dead languages and tells living stories. Her short fiction and poetry have been collected most recently in the Lambda-nominated Forget the Sleepless Shores (Lethe Press) and previously in Singing Innocence and Experience, Postcards from the Province of HyphensA Mayse-Bikhl, and Ghost Signs. She lives with one of her husbands and both of her cats in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she writes about film for Patreon and remains proud of naming a Kuiper Belt object.
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21 Sep 2022

There is little more inspirational than a writer who devotes her talents to the work of others.
I was twelve when my mother was born. Twelve or thereabouts. If I’d been older, I could have said things like I never wanted to be a daughter; I don’t have a filial bone in my body. Relatives could have tilted their heads at me, insisting I’d change my mind. But I was twelve so I said nothing. I had no relatives.
a few miles from the fallout zone. / You double-check the index card
Unripe morning / cut open too soon
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