Size / / /

Then Jael, Heber's wife, took a nail of the tent, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it to the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.
    —Judges 4:21

such a muted sound at first

as spike hits skin, then,

the skull's soft crunch.

one would think murder made more noise—

like a battering ram against the temple,

but no, just a simple tent nail

and a cup of milk;

we women have our ways.

had i more time, i would have cooked,

made the bed, washed the dishes—

scheduled in the killing.

but he had come quickly, galloped

himself into my sanctuary,

heaving breath in muffled gasps

and war-weary, as men often are.

i became an eagle, feathers spread,

talons reaching as i flew out to meet him,

and he, thinking i was his dove, his mother hen,

came under my wings, shadow-filled.

i wrapped their warmth around him with

my voice spinning lies, quilted comfort,

my hands tucking in the folds of the blanket

as he slipped into that dream-quenching slumber.

i almost kissed his brow

to drive the pin through.

his mother, far away,

felt the breeze of my hand as it came down,

gentle, a loving breath upon her cheek,

thought her son had come back early in victory,

and opened her arms wide in ready embrace.

when she turned,

her eyes beheld nothing

but red leaves falling

in the morning wind.




Nancy Hightower lectures on the rhetorics of the grotesque and fantastic in art, film, and literature. She is an art columnist for Weird Fiction Review and has had work published in Word Riot, Prick of the Spindle, storySouth, and Bourbon Penn, among others.
Current Issue
24 Feb 2020

tight braids coiled into isles and continents against our scalps
By: Mayra Paris
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Mayra Paris's “New York, 2009.”
This Mind and Body Cyborg as a queer figure raises its head in Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s 2019 epistolary novel This Is How You Lose the Time War, as two Cyborg bodies shed their previous subjectivities in order to find a queer understanding of one another.
Carl just said ‘if the skull wants to break out, it will have to come to me for the key’, which makes me think that Carl doesn’t really understand how breaking out of a place works.
Wednesday: The Heart of the Circle by Keren Landsman 
Friday: Into Bones Like Oil by Kaaron Warren 
Issue 17 Feb 2020
By: Priya Sridhar
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: E. F. Schraeder
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Feb 2020
By: Shannon Sanders
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 3 Feb 2020
By: Ada Hoffmann
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: S.R. Tombran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Jan 2020
By: Julianna Baggott
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Terese Mason Pierre
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Terese Mason Pierre
Issue 6 Jan 2020
By: Mitchell Shanklin
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 23 Dec 2019
By: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Dec 2019
By: Osahon Ize-Iyamu
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liu Chengyu
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Dec 2019
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessy Randall
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: