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for my best cousin Ruth Wejksnora

ius pro concubitu nostro tibi cardinis esto:

hoc pretium positae virginitatis habe.

—Ovid, Fasti 6.127—128

She carries no keys. She picks no locks.

The poet wronged her in his homesick almanac—

the words he put down in ink as freezing black

as the ice-scummed shore, the rainy lashing night

hunched on his shoulders like the distance of home,

a rueful laughter in the shutters' sea-wind creak.

Who would deal in straight lines with a god

of double faces? Before and behind she caught him

among the whitethorn, a counterfeiter of ways

flowering like snow in the summer she leads in,

what is closed to open, what is open to close,

the balance of the year on her outspread palms.

For you she does not hold the door open,

beckoning the road the sun lays down in light.

That is your handiwork: she turns to watch you pass.

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.
Current Issue
20 Mar 2023

Strange Horizons will be open to fiction submissions on April 26th, 2023, at 9 a.m. UTC! To keep our response times manageable and submission windows more frequent, there will be a 1,000-story cap on submissions.
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Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
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