Size / / /

You use

an instrument of tusk,

of yellow tooth,

imperfections filed

into ghost.

They are invisible, to most.

Your fingers know.

I know your fingers.

I know them in the salt-sea.

I know them, charcoal-smudged,

smelling of smoke.

I know them pulped by fruit,

still wet with sea,

the sweet and the sour.

With this object,

your spider-fingers take

from wires hidden

in a box.

You transform

a swell of notes.

The stars, a silence, a sudden

dive and then a thunderstorm

- and now I have forgotten

how to take my skin off

like a lady's dovegray glove

and put it back on

as purple as the stomach of a flea.

To run like a deer.

To hide like a hay stalk in a hay stack.

All I can do

is root,

and snarl, and feel my thoughts

tangle and cross, grow green leaves,

   edged like teeth

and dense with veins.

All I can do is snarl, tangled

heavily across this chair,

and cling to the wall.

At least I have thorns,

although I open wide, whiter than silk

and redder than thread.

Despite my head,

I blossom like fire from a match.

I forget

how to shed

this shape:

When you close the lid,

and take your fingers from the monster's teeth,

and come to pluck me,

scatter my petals

so that I will never grow again—

I hope you bleed.




Jessica P. Wick is a writer and freelance editor living in Rhode Island. She enjoys rambling through graveyards and writing by candlelight. Her poetry may be found scattered across the internet. Her novella “An Unkindness” is out June 2020 in A Sinister Quartet from Mythic Delirium. Other dark fiction may be found in Rigor Morbid: Lest Ye Become from Bronzeville Books.
Current Issue
1 Mar 2021

The day they took my mouth hadn’t been spent eating De la Rosas, or smoking, or spitting.
By: Sasha LaPointe
Podcast read by: Sasha LaPointe
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Courtney Floyd presents Sasha LaPointe's "Mouth," read by the author. You can find the full text of the story, as well as the story's content warnings, here.
“I am dead!” I yell at him. By this time the camera has slid into his stomach
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Bianca Rae Messinger's “After the Living Dead Girl.”
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Issue 8 Feb 2021
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Issue 1 Feb 2021
By: Tamara Jerée
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Issue 25 Jan 2021
By: Beatriz F. Fernandez
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Issue 18 Jan 2021
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