Size / / /

Content warning:

honestly, it just happened out of nowhere
the neighbors plucked the boy from the cleft of a peach
wiped off the vernix of pollen, kissed his peach pelt fontanelle
softer than bruised fruit, they said, and that was it
you’d never know how many times she slept with her belly in the dirt
feeding the roots a steady stream of peach prayers

then there’s my sister, remember her? mouth like a knife wound
she swallowed a snowflake!
total accident
now she has a girl with snow-spun hair with a kiss so cold you’ll catch your death

with my cousin’s wife, it was planned
she leaned out a window one winter and spat on a raven
now the kid has a beak to match, bless

my grandmother was a bear, you know, so that’s probably why
crocuses in her jaw
salmon scales on her chest
they said the secret was blackberries

have you tried blackberries?

try not to stress, but make sure you fish out your want
like a skeleton drawn out
from the soup of your heart
the best broth for wish children

adjust the various seasonings to taste
every pressed-glass grin, every catch in your throat,
every stray twinge that coils in the empty nest of your pelvis
that you think, might, perhaps, could—

try the blackberries, first
if that doesn’t work, you can do what my brother’s friend’s cousin did
she spoke a whole year without vowels
kept a poultice of stars strapped to her hip
such commitment, you know, to chisel out a star each night
to take a blade and forge it
from the scraps of all your expired hopes
and each month
hurl yourself to the hunt and harvest of miracles

Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning children’s book author of the Pandava, Gilded Wolves, and Star-Touched series. Her adult debut, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride, is forthcoming from William Morrow in 2023.
Current Issue
25 Sep 2023

People who live in glass houses are surrounded by dirt birds
After a century, the first colony / of bluebirds flew out of my mouth.
Over and over the virulent water / beat my flame down to ash
In this episode of  Critical Friends , the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Aisha and Dan talk to critic and poet Catherine Rockwood about how reviewing and criticism feed into creative practice. Also, pirates.
Writing authentic stories may require you to make the same sacrifice. This is not a question of whether or not you are ready to write indigenous literature, but whether you are willing to do so. Whatever your decision, continue to be kind to indigenous writers. Do not ask us why we are not famous or complain about why we are not getting support for our work. There can only be one answer to that: people are too busy to care. At least you care, and that should be enough to keep my culture alive.
Issue 18 Sep 2023
Issue 11 Sep 2023
Issue 4 Sep 2023
Issue 28 Aug 2023
Issue 21 Aug 2023
Issue 14 Aug 2023
Issue 7 Aug 2023
Issue 31 Jul 2023
Issue 24 Jul 2023
Issue 17 Jul 2023
Load More
%d bloggers like this: