Size / / /

I don't know where I am.

I close my eyes and there's a forest,

warm and dark, where I can reach out

and touch you. I could get lost

you say, from miles away,

in bed with you

right now

and I am already there, pine needles on the ground,

your body as near as the trees.

Your words make evening of my sheets,

a dim sky falling over woods

seeded in syllables, tangling

breath and branches together

behind the eyes I've shut to find you.

One can believe anything in the dark:

that I could turn and know

the heat of your back,

the curve of your shoulder,

the soft smell of your neck.

There is strange comfort in being lost,

in making a home of uncertainty—

a pillow of moss, a bed of leaves,

a presence out of absence.

But, equally,

one can believe anything in the dark.

I could tell myself stories. I could say

there once was a girl who made woods of words

and lay down in them to dream

lost her breadcrumbs to the birds

and her maps to a running stream

but in the dark, it's hard to know

middles from beginnings

or anything else.

It could be

that you, whose voice is an open door

that takes me no place twice—it could be

that you know exactly where you are,

keep a compass in your breastbone

and won't tell me where it points—

that when you say I could

get lost

you don't mean you will.

But, still,

anything is possible in the dark,

and everything is possible

in stories.

So:

it's warm beneath this blanket sky,

and she has been so cold,

his voice is still as close as sleep,

and still as sweet to hold.

So let him lead her into rest

be it here, or near, or far—

she's always loved the evening best,

the twilight, and the stars.




Amal El-Mohtar is the Nebula-nominated author of The Honey Month, a collection of poetry and very short fiction written to the taste of twenty-eight different kinds of honey. She has thrice won the Rhysling Award for Best Short Poem and once received the 2012 Richard Jeffries Society Poetry Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple venues online and in print, including Apex, Strange Horizons, Lackington's, and the special "Women Destroy Science Fiction" issue of Lightspeed magazine. She also edits Goblin Fruit, a web quarterly dedicated to fantastical poetry, with Caitlyn A. Paxson. She reviews books for Lightspeed and short fiction for Tor.com. Find her online at amalelmohtar.com or on Twitter @tithenai.
Current Issue
14 Oct 2019

Two in the morning in the booth of an all-night diner a block off Santa Monica Boulevard, and I was trying to convince the Great Mandini to tell me his secrets.
By: Kevin Wabaunsee
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Kevin Wabaunsee's “The Great Mandini and the Dead Man's Hand.”
atol de elote, pho, boba, pupusas / Taco Tuesday tacos, one dollar Spam musubi
By: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Ruben Reyes Jr.'s “Heaven Is Expensive,” as read by the poet.
Issue 7 Oct 2019
By: Charles Payseur
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Davian Aw
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Sep 2019
Podcast: High Hopes 
By: Kali de los Santos
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Podcast: Progression 
By: Heitor Zen
Podcast read by: Julia Quandt
Podcast: Spider 
By: Sérgio Motta
Podcast read by: Sérgio Motta
Podcast: Replacement 
By: Isa Prospero
Podcast read by: Solaine Chioro
Monday: 3% 
,
Issue 23 Sep 2019
By: August Huerta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Sep 2019
By: Marie Brennan
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Hester J. Rook
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Hester J. Rook
Issue 9 Sep 2019
By: Shiv Ramdas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Sarah Shirley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
31 Aug 2019
Brazil Special Issue call for fiction submissions!
Issue 26 Aug 2019
By: Cynthia So
Podcast read by: Cynthia So
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 19 Aug 2019
By: S. R. Mandel
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 12 Aug 2019
By: Niyah Morris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Dante Luiz
Art by: Em Allen
By: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Rasha Abdulhadi
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 5 Aug 2019
By: Aisha Phoenix
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alexandra Seidel
Podcast read by: Alexandra Seidel
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: