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it seems like a mistake at first.
I guess this is a mistake she says. it probably doesn’t know where it is.
then the deer begins dragging in grasses and leaves from the woods.
it spreads them out into a nest under the kitchen table.
all day she and her grandfather watch the deer.
it gets tiring over the next few weeks, living with this creature.
the deer eats their food, nibbles on her sweaters.
it doesn’t help with the dishes or sweep the floor
or pay its share of the rent.

the deer has no understanding of the salient history of her town,
a place nicknamed The Village of Fatherless Children.
when she was young, the dads of
half the kids in town disappeared.
the other half did not have dads to begin with
either they had two moms or single moms.
she often wonders why it is called The Village of Fatherless Children
and not The Village of Many Mothers
or even The Village of Mostly Mothers
which would be a much more positive and progressive way of viewing things.

one day she finds that a framed photo of her father is missing.
the deer, when interrogated, discloses nothing.



Nikki Caffier Smith is a writer based in Brooklyn. Her writing has appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Typishly, and Awakened Voices Magazine, and is forthcoming in 42 Stories Anthology and on the podcast Kaleidocast. She works as a fiction editor for Cleaver Magazine. She lives with her partner and their two ill-behaved cats.
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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By: Devin Miller
Art by: Alex Pernau
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
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Strange Horizons
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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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