Size / / /

Content warning:



i.

Shoot, sure
we exist, just like banana ghosts
and handsome monkey kings.
Our homes grow slim slim green green,
swaying in the breeze. At night
we step forth, hum old refrains,
count the stars beyond the canes.
You don’t remember
already? Don’t worry.
Just because
you don’t remember
doesn’t mean we
stopped.

ii.
The story is like this:
That day long ago, we felt
screams disturb the wind
on our leaves. Like fire-
crackers gone wrong.
Suddenly they appeared
out of air, here there
weaving between
our stems, red-eyed red-
limbed. Everyone
scared of being
cut down.

We protected them, these unbarked
whose sweat and salt quenched
our roots. For nine days
uncelebrated we bent our walls closer,
striped them with shadows
thick as yearcake.
We walked among them, combed hair and held
trembling plum stone hands, traded
lullabies root to root until
fretful sprouts stilled. Their foes
crashed crow loud
around but never into us,
until at last the air blossomed
with no sound.
They tried to leave. We
let them
stumble forward, free.

Little shoot, you saw us then. You
waved goodbye.

iii.
Now your seeds are scattered
on distant summer shores.
They transplanted these memories
leaf stalk and barrel,
gave them root systems
on islands and temples and
tables sticky with paint, wax, fat
dragon tears.
They transport our lineage there, where
we guard midnights and incense fumes
for an annual glimpse
of these future ancestors,
alive, burning gold
and praying
for our uprightness, our
sweetness.



May Chong (@maysays on Twitter) is a Malaysian poet and speculative writer, with previous work featured in Eye to the Telescope, Anathema Magazine, Apparition Literary, and Fantasy Magazine. Her poetry has also been nominated twice for the SFPA's Rhysling Award. Away from the keyboard, she enjoys birdwatching, spoken word, video games, and the worst possible puns.
Current Issue
11 Oct 2021

Back then, a nail to the neck meant a man wanted you as his wife.
By: Lisabelle Tay
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
In this episode of the Strange Horizons fiction podcast, editor Kat Kourbeti presents Lisabelle Tay's "Surat Dari Hantu".
GREEN is the color of everything sexy in this world. / you PINK up the telephone and say, YELLOW! call us
Friday: From a Shadow Grave by Andi C. Buchanan 
Issue 4 Oct 2021
By: Anthony Okpunor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
4 Oct 2021
If you want to donate, or check how close we are to unlocking another story, poem, review, or essay, here's the link.
Issue 2 Oct 2021
Harun 
29 Sep 2021
Opening to fiction submissions for the month of November!
Issue 27 Sep 2021
By: Mary Robles
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Sep 2021
By: Clara Ward
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Art by: Courtney Skaggs
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Sep 2021
By: Steve Castro
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Sep 2021
By: Yuna Kang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Yuna Kang
By: B. Pladek
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 30 Aug 2021
By: Ian Goh
By: Andy Winter
By: Yong-Yu Huang
By: Sunny Vuong
By: Natalie Wang
By: Mark Dimaisip
By: Yvanna Vien Tica
By: Jack Kin Lim
By: May Chong
By: P. H. Low
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Ian Goh
Podcast read by: Yong-Yu Huang
Podcast read by: Sunny Vuong
Podcast read by: Natalie Wang
Podcast read by: Mark Dimaisip
Podcast read by: Yvanna Vien Tica
Podcast read by: Jack Kin Lim
Podcast read by: May Chong
Podcast read by: P. H. Low
Issue 23 Aug 2021
By: Hannah V Warren
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: