Size / / /

When myths were young, steam still rose

from caves and deep earth where God

kept them safe for prophets and troubadours.

Dragons were not quite so fearsome then,

their fire-breath keeping stories soft

like an ironworker's blast furnace.

Saints didn't know how to become saints

yet, so it was simpler to perform miracles:

one followed the path with the most heat.

Dragons posed threat only as water grew

silent and surfaced for want of songs

with solid endings to cool their throats.

So, they pierced sweet-voiced maids to their ears,

waiting where familiar streams emerged

cleanest for the soldering touch of holy men.

When George appeared to her in last wavelength

of color serpent eyes can see, ash-covered as she,

neither of them yet knew the true nature of heat:

the dragon's skin was never lacerated

on a wheel of swords to keep from burning;

George never knew what it was to have flame

in the throat so hot words hurl forth

like embers, branding ears with curses

even when they mean hello or help me.

They fell inside each other, nonetheless.

George cupped water in his hands and the dragon

drank until her scales froze into George's flesh.

Beyond stories, dragons still seek deeper endings

and swords get sharper by the day, but truly

a saint has never slain a dragon. He became her.




Crystal Hoffman's poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Arsenic Lobster Anthology, WomenArts Quarterly, Redactions, and Whiskey Island. She is co-editor of Rusted Radishes: The Beirut Literary and Arts Review and an aspiring psychologist. Her chapbook Sulphur Water is forthcoming from Hyacinth Girl Press.
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 
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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% 
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Issue 23 Sep 2019
By: August Huerta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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