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Her hands want to pray inside the mouth
of a tiger. Her eyes want to see the shadow of a god

cast against her bedroom wall. My mother
hardly leaves her room but the rain she’s collected

is enough for her to swim in. I’ve caught her diving
into bed & splashing wildly like a summer girl.

I’ve found her weeping at the bottom of the pool
& holding her breath under heavy sheets.

Sometimes her hair is blood-moon red & even
her pill bottles seem filled with moonlight.

She’s happiest at the idea of a pilgrimage
where we finally find our childhood

buried in the sand of an endless desert.
I carry the little girl on my back

like a tireless camel & she carries
a young frightened me to her chest

singing the song of motherhood
she didn’t know the first time

Angel Leal is a Latine, trans/nonbinary writer whose previous work appeared in Strange Horizons, Apparition Lit, The Deadlands, Heartlines Spec, and elsewhere. They’ve been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Rhysling, Best of the Net, and are a coadmin of CALAMITOUS, a queer SFFH writing group. You can find them at or on twitter @orbiting_angel.
Current Issue
26 Feb 2024

I can’t say any of this to the man next to me because he is wearing a tie
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
verb 4 [C] to constantly be at war, spill your blood and drink. to faint and revive yourself. to brag of your scars.
Wednesday: The Body Problem by Margaret Wack 
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