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I wonder if you’ve
imagined murdering
me. I see this circus
in your eyes when you
look at me—a royal
disdain for whatever
it is about you I’m
unwilling to affirm.
But my years as Vazir,
Viceroy, and eunuch
are over. This isn’t
a Mughal court, though
my thoughts bend
noble. I drift on this
island of love, inside
my cloud of second acts.
It’s a place you can’t
picture, even with that
ice pick gaze of yours
that seems ready to
stab my neck each
time I say, I’m a wildly
introverted woman.



Mehnaz Sahibzada was born in Pakistan and raised in Los Angeles. She is a 2009 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry. Her chapbooks, Tongue-Tied: A Memoir in Poems (2012), and Summer Forgets to Wear a Petticoat (2016), were both published by Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, such as Moira, The Literary Hatchet, Asia Writes, Strange Cargo, The Rattling Wall, and Pedestal Magazine. In Fall 2016, Mehnaz served as a screener for Claremont Graduate University’s Kate and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards, reviewing hundreds of full-length manuscripts. A high school English teacher, she lives in southern California. To learn more about Mehnaz, visit her website.
Current Issue
16 May 2022

we are whispered into this new land, this old land, whispered anew
i tuck myselves under coffin nails. and then i am the sun like a nairobi fly, burning spine and skin.
The last deer in heaven flees, and Sestu pursues.
Issue 9 May 2022
Podcast: 9 May Poetry 
Issue 2 May 2022
By: Eric Wang
By: Sara S. Messenger
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Sara S. Messenger
Issue 18 Apr 2022
By: Blaize Kelly Strothers
By: Ken Haponek
Podcast read by: Blaize Kelly Strothers
Podcast read by: Ken Haponek
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Apr 2022
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Issue 28 Mar 2022
Issue 21 Mar 2022
By: Devin Miller
Art by: Alex Pernau
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
Issue 14 Mar 2022
Strange Horizons
Issue 7 Mar 2022
Strange Horizons
28 Feb 2022
We would like stories that are joyous, horrific, hopeful, despondent, powerful and subtle. Write something that will take our breath away, make us yell and cry. Write unapologetically in your local patois and basilects in space; make references to local events and memes to your heart’s content. Write something that makes you laugh and cry. Indulge in all the hallmarks of your heritage that you find yourself yearning for in speculative literature, but know that we will not judge you based on your authenticity as a Southeast Asian. 
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