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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
27 Mar 2023

close calls when / I’m with Thee / dressed to the nines
they took to their heels but the bird was faster.
In this episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Reviews Editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland talk to novelist, reviewer, and Strange Horizons’ Co-ordinating Editor, Gautam Bhatia, about how reviewing and criticism of all kinds align—and do not—with fiction-writing and the genre more widely.
If the future is here, but unevenly distributed, then so is the past.
He claims that Redlow used to be a swamp and he has now brought them into the future before the future. Yes he said that.
My previous Short Fiction Treasures column was all about science fiction, so it’s only fair that the theme this time around is fantasy.
I’ve come to think of trans-inclusive worldbuilding as an activist project in itself, or at least analogous to the work of activists. When we imagine other worlds, we have to observe what rules we are creating to govern the characters, institutions, and internal logic in our stories. This means looking at gender from the top down, as a regulatory system, and from the bottom up, at the people on the margins whose bodies and lives stand in some kind of inherent opposition to the system itself.
Wednesday: And Lately, The Sun edited by Calyx Create Group 
Friday: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White 
Issue 20 Mar 2023
Issue 13 Mar 2023
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Issue 20 Feb 2023
Issue 13 Feb 2023
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Issue 30 Jan 2023
By: Catherine Rockwood
By: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Catherine Rockwood
Podcast read by: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Maureen Kincaid Speller
Issue 23 Jan 2023
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