Size / / /

The hunters run

no game remains close to camp

out here the trees are sparse but the grass

is taller

it is possible to ambush

the fleet herd creatures the slow and heavy

behemoths prepare them in the field

but just as the best cutter

prepares to make his first incision

I hear. . . something something heavy running

toward us, the swish swish of the grass

the only sound I sound

the alert then run we all run

Cutter stays to snatch a couple

cuts of meat but now I hear

harsh calls the calls of birds

they are 2, 3, many birds

calling and running running and hunting

I am slow one of my legs

was cursed and didn't grow enough

but I am faster than Cutter

strong Cutter but laden with meat and I see the birds

Axebeaks bobbing above the tall grass

stiff feathers of azure and tangerine

making warmasks of their faces.

I see them running

and they see Cutter.

I return by secret paths to the campsite

I arrive empty-handed and alone

but creeping silently upwind

I do not smell blood

I do not find females

their bellies spilling open

I do not find small ones

headless in the ruins of my tent

it is not like last year.

An aether compactor by trade, David Kopaska-Merkel began writing poetry after witnessing the Ascension of Tim. He won the Rhysling award for best long poem in 2006 for a collaboration with Kendall Evans. He has written 23 books, of which the latest is SETI Hits Paydirt  (Popcorn Press). Kopaska-Merkel has edited Dreams & Nightmares magazine since 1986.  You can reach him via email.
Current Issue
29 Nov 2021

It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that our donor's choice special issue for 2021 is titled—simply—Friendship.
The year before this, the girls at school had called her Little Lila .
Pictures of me that day are kept in the ship’s files, sent back to Earth to be used in my captors’ eventual war crimes tribunals.
Perhaps a new urban system of star navigation is needed
This world, covered in spectral ebullience, was tied together by bows of light
Are you a good witch / or a bad witch? / as if there’s an answer earned, inscribed in bubbles reflecting an inverse crown.
When does the pursuit of pure thought, pure idealism, pure escapism become detrimental?
Wednesday: The Best of World SF, Volume 1, edited by Lavie Tidhar 
Friday: Anti-Life by Vee Tat Lam 
Issue 22 Nov 2021
Issue 15 Nov 2021
By: Madeline Grigg
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Nov 2021
By: Allison Parrish
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Nov 2021
By: Liam Corley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Liam Corley
Issue 25 Oct 2021
Strange Horizons
Issue 18 Oct 2021
By: K. Ceres Wright
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Oct 2021
By: Lisabelle Tay
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 4 Oct 2021
By: Anthony Okpunor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Oct 2021
Podcast: Fund Drive 2021 Poetry 
By: Michael Meyerhofer
By: Wale Ayinla
Podcast read by: Michael Meyerhofer
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
29 Sep 2021
Opening to fiction submissions for the month of November!
Load More
%d bloggers like this: