Size / / /

after Elise Matthesen

He should be ice in a northern garden,

a moss-flanked marble whose fingers cling

as stilly to his flute-stops as last night's rain

between the bowing heads of roses,

sheltered forever by a symbolist's afternoon

from November and the winter's stripping chill,

yet here he lounges in an abstract of boxwood

and holly, under a slate-lid sky,

the black of his pelt like the soft lees of Setinum,

his horns as sweetly whorled as pinecones,

a gold annealing in the slots of his eyes.

His throat like oiled olive, his warm arms smell

not of rut and vinegar, but resin and stillness

disturbed, the hot light filtering on the beeches

and river-veins, the muddied onyx

of one hoof jinks: and if I cry

ὁ μέγας Πὰν τέθνηκεν, he will fall

like the curvetting of aspen leaves, to plain air,

the piper at the gates of sunset,

a wind-topped, tuneless reed.

But if it sang out true from Paxi to Palodes,

mourning, exultant —that voice of dying gods—

who haunts my path like a heart's missed beat,

holm-oak, stone pine, the dark stelae of cypress

glimpsed out of shot from clipped corners of yew,

whose wordless mouth reels modes of ivy in?

The little wind frets the hedges in their fading,

bellies a spider's shell-strung caul: a sibyl.

The faun in the summer of the world smiles,

too late to uninvoke, growing home.




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, and previously in Singing Innocence and Experience, Postcards from the Province of Hyphens, A Mayse-Bikhl, and Ghost Signs. She lives with her husband and two cats in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she writes about film for Patreon and remains proud of naming a Kuiper belt object.
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!
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