Size / / /

Content warning:


Nobody needs your damn armada.
Come hear the truth from me.
I'll tie you to the mast, Capitán,
kelp-tickle your beard
as you sink into the sea.
No more a mermaid
than a taxidermied monkey
neither selkie nor siren
am I
nothing so glorified.
Solamente soy una guadaña:
spindrift and ozone solidified,
fashioned human on this armature
of shipwreck splinters
and adipocere.

    Soon I will flow back
    lentamente
    a kiss dissolving into Mother . . .

Insidious as rats in steerage,
I infiltrated your crew.
Tongue oily as seals, I pirated
your words, a language that skewers sea,
making masculine.
In these dark alleys
between night-crested waves,
I whispered queries marlin-sharp
to sailor and soldier alike.
See how they rise,
Mutiny their answer.
I smashed your puny sextants
on principle, slashed your maps
for spite.
Now ready your wrists
for my lightning strike.

    And seeded throughout your fleet
    my salt sisters shadow me . . .

The only monarch we mind:
Oceana
(To your knees! The deep-sea chorus
sings! "Celosa medusa, Hermosa bruja . . .").
The only regent we recognize:
her bastard consort Gravity.
Too long have you siphoned
sacrifices meant for our goddess,
too often squandered blood
on beaches that should have slaked
the whirlpool mouths of
our queen. Mi reina
sends assassins not ambassadors,
death not diplomacy.
For her, I bleed.

    A monad in the depths, I dreamed darker
    than the ichor spilling from this illusion.
    This effigy is a shell
    soon to be discarded . . .

Propelled by Majesty's orders
I clip throats and sails.
With whale-oil overboard I ignite
mis hermanas olas
so bright your enemies
shield their eyes on shore.
Proud, I bring this plague ship
to port on benthic floor.
Your flotilla twirls and tumbles,
castillos al revés.

    Mother mocks your keeled cathedrals
    and turns them into pearls.




Lisa M. Bradley is a Tejana living in Iowa. Her words have infiltrated Uncanny Magazine, Interfictions, Cicada, The Moment of Change, Mythic Delirium, and other publications. She loves gothic country music, broken taboos, Spanglish, and horror films—all of which influenced her collection, The Haunted Girl (Aqueduct Press). For more, see her website or Twitter.
Current Issue
16 May 2022

we are whispered into this new land, this old land, whispered anew
i tuck myselves under coffin nails. and then i am the sun like a nairobi fly, burning spine and skin.
The last deer in heaven flees, and Sestu pursues.
Wednesday: The Anthropocene Unconscious: Climate Catastrophe in Contemporary Culture by Mark Bould 
Friday: Spear by Nicola Griffith 
Issue 9 May 2022
Podcast: 9 May Poetry 
Issue 2 May 2022
By: Eric Wang
By: Sara S. Messenger
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Sara S. Messenger
Issue 18 Apr 2022
By: Blaize Kelly Strothers
By: Ken Haponek
Podcast read by: Blaize Kelly Strothers
Podcast read by: Ken Haponek
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Apr 2022
Issue 4 Apr 2022
Issue 28 Mar 2022
Issue 21 Mar 2022
By: Devin Miller
Art by: Alex Pernau
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
Issue 14 Mar 2022
Strange Horizons
Issue 7 Mar 2022
Strange Horizons
28 Feb 2022
We would like stories that are joyous, horrific, hopeful, despondent, powerful and subtle. Write something that will take our breath away, make us yell and cry. Write unapologetically in your local patois and basilects in space; make references to local events and memes to your heart’s content. Write something that makes you laugh and cry. Indulge in all the hallmarks of your heritage that you find yourself yearning for in speculative literature, but know that we will not judge you based on your authenticity as a Southeast Asian. 
Load More
%d bloggers like this: