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in severall of the buts of beare, great heapes of stuff was found at the bottom of the buts not unlike to men’s guts, which has alarmed the sea men to a strange degre.
—Admiral of the Fleet Edward Russell

There are the worms we bring with us, festooning
our stomachs like crepe streamers. There are the worms

who bring themselves, ninjaed in the potting soil, wrapped
around roots, a filth-mouthed stomach. But you, O Self-

Generating Specimen, are like bees from a sheep’s body,
decomposition buzzed into being, an uncaring slough

of yeasted slop. Sailors eat weevilled hardtack, protein
swimming in weak tea. Old meat green with age,

gray from boiling, made bloody from sore gums, seesaw teeth.
O Great Heap, O Intestinal Visaged, you’re drunk

if you think fouled beer won’t pass these lips. You’ll be drunk
by my kind or the sea-spawned scavengers. Our unintelligible guts,

our inverse insides we were never meant to see. And yet,
O Maelstrom at the Barrel’s Bottom, your pink-purple ripples

so perfect, so undulate, O Unshelled Snail, I can’t look away.



[Editor’s Note: Publication of this poem was made possible by a gift from Derek Nason during our annual Kickstarter.]

Andrew Kozma’s poems appear in Rogue Agent, Redactions, and Contemporary Verse 2, while his fiction appears in The Dread Machine, ergot, and Analog. His first book of poems, City of Regret, won the Zone 3 First Book Award, and his second book, Orphanotrophia, was published in 2021 by Cobalt Press.
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.
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