Size / / /

"Last year sharks killed nine people globally—a mere driblet compared to defective toasters, which killed 781."

AP Newswire

No primordial killing machine


by nature could be this singularly

harmless looking, with neither fins

nor teeth,

its long black cord functioning not

so much as a tail—to balance

or locomote—

but as lifeline to the sleekly-built

appliance with its open gills of

chrome, spring

jaw, and burnt-crumb breath.

And yet despite these deficiencies,

it swims,

if statically, in a current strong

enough to carry away an Olympian,

its boxlike

form dictated by function, if not

the fetished mind of Martha Stewart.

Hidden in

plain sight, usually in the cove or bay

of a kitchen, it waits to strike down

the unwary,

the unsuspecting innocent

who, hungry for a pastry or bagel,

but distracted

by the menialness of the task,

does not notice the frayed cord,

blissfully placing

his hand too close to the open slits

or the shiny body of the appliance


anticipating the sweet butter-and-jam

taste in his mouth, the delicious chew

of crust,

completely oblivious as to what lays

in wait for him, deadlier than any


even if able to make perfect toast.

Robert Borski works for a consortium of elves repairing shoes in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. You can read more of his work in our archives.
Current Issue
24 Jan 2022

Piece of my essence, accept my sorry.
Some people, right? We’ll fold you into sparrows, help you disappear—I’m so glad we found you alive
By: Katy Bond
By: Averi Kurth
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Katy Bond
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents the poetry of the 24 January issue.
Hope without action behind it is only a recipe for deeper heartache.
I love flash fiction for a lot of reasons. There’s the instant gratification of reading a complete work of fiction in just a few minutes. And there’s the way flash lends itself to playful, inventive experimentation with form, prose, style, voice, and subject. I also love the way a flash story can be honed and sharpened as everything extraneous is eliminated, and the way it can capture and convey the essence of something—an emotion, a world, a situation, a possibility, an idea, even a joke!—in brilliant brevity.
Wednesday: I am the Tiger by John Ajvide Lindqvist, translated by Marlaine Delargy 
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Issue 6 Dec 2021
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Issue 8 Nov 2021
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