Size / / /

When a body's opened, chest-first,
with bare hands, with rocks—
steam rises into morning air,
warms the sharp chill. You want
to clutch it to your breast, tell it
you love its febrile, fluttering life.
To rip it wide and climb inside,
wear it 'til the heat drains away once more.

We live alone, not lonely, on
rocky, saline soil which suffers no plow,
will grow no crop fit for reaping. What surprise,
we look elsewhere to use our hungry sickles?
It is only natural.

(As the stag flees the wolf, the crab the gull.
As corpses would flee fish, surely, if they only could.)

To the rest, meanwhile—our stark cave
crammed with useless trinkets, hanging garden
of dried flesh—this is simply home,
our scrap-lined nest, a crib for carrion-chicks
to practice on each other, file down their teeth
and claws by gnawing bones, a warren
for breeding rabbits.

Lust pairs us off without pattern,
pregnancy just one more way to reckon
how fast (or slow) time passes . . .
yet who did we ever need, in truth,
but each other?

(As well, from time to time, as you—
God's gift. Quotidian bounty
of salt-cold sand and tide.)

Set table, now; sit down. Mind your manners.
Our prayers begin en masse, so flavor-full of grace:
This once-fierce meat—so raw and rare, so savory,
already cooling—receives, evokes,
our most devout benediction.

Old woman, do you make ever sure
to feed the children first.




Former film critic and teacher turned award-winning horror writer Gemma Files is best known for her Hexslinger Series, now collected in omnibus form (ChiZine Publications). She has also published two collections of short fiction and two chapbooks of poetry. Her next book is We Will All Go Down Together: A Novel in Stories About the Five-Family Coven (also from CZP). Her website is here.
Current Issue
20 Jan 2020

By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Justin C. Key's “One Hand in the Coffin.”
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Jessica P. Wick's “Sap and Superstition.”
I love the idea of representing folk stories and showcasing the culture of my country in a different way.
But I thought of apple skin clinging to a curve, yet unshaped by apple-sorcery.
Corey slipped his hand into the puppet’s back, like he had done many times with the doctor who made him talk about Michael and bathtubs and redness. His breath and stomach squeezed whenever he reached into dark, invisible places.
Wednesday: Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, translated by Julia Meitov Hersey 
Friday: Small Waiting Objects by T. D. Walker 
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
Issue 2 Dec 2019
By: Sheldon Costa
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mari Ness
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 25 Nov 2019
By: Nisa Malli
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nisa Malli
Issue 18 Nov 2019
By: Marika Bailey
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alicia Cole
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Nov 2019
By: Rivqa Rafael
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mary McMyne
By: Ugonna-Ora Owoh
Podcast read by: Mary McMyne
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 28 Oct 2019
By: Kelly Stewart
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kelly Stewart
Monday: Aniara 
,
Load More
%d bloggers like this: