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
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
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By: S.R. Tombran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
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Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessica P. Wick
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Issue 13 Jan 2020
By: Julianna Baggott
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By: Terese Mason Pierre
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Podcast read by: Terese Mason Pierre
Issue 6 Jan 2020
By: Mitchell Shanklin
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By: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Nikoline Kaiser
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Issue 23 Dec 2019
By: Maya Chhabra
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Issue 16 Dec 2019
By: Osahon Ize-Iyamu
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liu Chengyu
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Issue 9 Dec 2019
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessy Randall
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