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in the normal course of abnormal events
we can’t stop helping each other
the last of the water
gone to the neighbor’s daughter
I give her an hour
two at most

and when she’s free
as sunlight is free
of the glare of sand
we’ll face our own freedom

the camels and goats
grown thin and frail
will soon stop producing
their weak milk
the malformed figs taste of sand
the dunes move
each day we shift our camp of people
thrown together by these events

we had heard
of the many ways a world
can end

the sky remains its painful blue
the cold stars seem bitter
are we to eat sand?
drink the wind?

those few of us that recall
the sound of thunder
the power of rains
sound like liars to the young.



Joanne Merriam is the publisher at Upper Rubber Boot Books. She is a new American living in Nashville, having immigrated from Nova Scotia. She most recently edited Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good, and her own poetry has appeared in dozens of places including Asimov's, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and previously in Strange Horizons.
Roger Dutcher lives in Wisconsin, where he enjoys jazz, wine, and poetry. He has had poetry published in numerous publications, including Asimov's and Modern Haiku. He is the co-founder and co-editor of The Magazine of Speculative Poetry.
Current Issue
26 Sep 2022

Would a Teixcalaanli aristocrat look up at the sky, think of Lsel Station, and wonder—with Auden—"what doubtful act allows/ Our freedom in this English house/ our picnics in the sun"?
I propose that The Expanse and its ilk present us with a similar sentiment, in reverse—a warning that for all the promise of futurism and technological advancement, plenty of new, and perhaps much worse futures are right before us. In the course of outrunning la vieux monde, we may find that we are awaited not simply by new worlds to win, but also many more which may yet be lost.
where oil slurped up out of the dirt, they drink the coffee
Science fiction is a genre that continues to struggle with its own colonialist history, of which many of its portrayals of extractivism are a part. Science fiction is also a genre that has a history of being socially progressive and conscious – these are both truths.
Bring my stones, my bones, back to me
If we are to accept that the extractive unconscious is latent, is everywhere, part of everything, but unseen and unspoken, and killing us in our waking lives, then science fiction constitutes its dreams.
they are quoting Darwish at the picket & i am finally breathing again
Waste is profoundly shaping and changing our society and our way of living. Our daily mundane world always treats waste as a hidden structure, together with its whole ecosystem, and places it beyond our sight, to maintain the glories of contemporary life. But unfortunately, some are advantaged by this, while others suffer.
Like this woman, I am carrying the world on my back.
So we’re talking about a violence that supplants the histories of people and things, scrubbing them clean so that they can fuel the oppressive and unequal status quo it sustains.
Issue 21 Sep 2022
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By: Cat T.
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Issue 18 Jul 2022
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