Size / / /

Once, I was a mermaid with other mermaids
decked out and parading down the boardwalk. 
My gown trailed me, a tail of cerulean, my 
cheeks the color the sky glistens when 
it strikes the ocean. 
 
Early that morning, the day the parade 
flooded the streets with sea wreckage 
and freaks, with connoisseurs, my 
lover finished painting on my face. 
His hat leaned sideways, 
 
parrot feathers brassy as beetle wings 
staining his hair. Two women dressed 
as crabs scuttled down the lane before us. 
My mouth blew bubbles, small tender 
ohs exploding. 
 
Seven moves later, three states: the gown 
still hangs in the folds of my closet. When 
I take it out, my soul, like some glass weight 
washed on the sand, shivers. A great breath 
of wind. Often, 
 
I see a dark fedora tumbling past me 
to break against the waves. Often, I see 
mermaids trailing riotous hair, their 
mouths unmoved by pity or the dark 
heart of the sea.

Publication of this poem was made possible by a donation from Lee Hallison. (Thanks, Lee!) To find out more about our funding model, or donate to the magazine, see the Support Us page.



Alicia Cole lives with a photographer and a bevy of animals. Over their house, egrets and great blue herons fly. She has a penchant for birding, blackberries, and walking through brambles. Her fantastical poetry may be found in Asimov's, Abyss & Apex, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Birdensnake, Demeter's Spicebox, Eternal Haunted Summer, and Futuredaze. A more complete bibliography is at three-magpies.livejournal.com. The cup which is the subject of this poem resides in a museum in Tehran and is believed to be the first animation in the world.
Current Issue
14 Oct 2019

Two in the morning in the booth of an all-night diner a block off Santa Monica Boulevard, and I was trying to convince the Great Mandini to tell me his secrets.
By: Kevin Wabaunsee
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Kevin Wabaunsee's “The Great Mandini and the Dead Man's Hand.”
atol de elote, pho, boba, pupusas / Taco Tuesday tacos, one dollar Spam musubi
By: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Ruben Reyes Jr.'s “Heaven Is Expensive,” as read by the poet.
Issue 7 Oct 2019
By: Charles Payseur
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Davian Aw
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Sep 2019
Podcast: High Hopes 
By: Kali de los Santos
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Podcast: Progression 
By: Heitor Zen
Podcast read by: Julia Quandt
Podcast: Spider 
By: Sérgio Motta
Podcast read by: Sérgio Motta
Podcast: Replacement 
By: Isa Prospero
Podcast read by: Solaine Chioro
Monday: 3% 
,
Issue 23 Sep 2019
By: August Huerta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Sep 2019
By: Marie Brennan
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Hester J. Rook
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Hester J. Rook
Issue 9 Sep 2019
By: Shiv Ramdas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Sarah Shirley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
31 Aug 2019
Brazil Special Issue call for fiction submissions!
Issue 26 Aug 2019
By: Cynthia So
Podcast read by: Cynthia So
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 19 Aug 2019
By: S. R. Mandel
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 12 Aug 2019
By: Niyah Morris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Dante Luiz
Art by: Em Allen
By: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Rasha Abdulhadi
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 5 Aug 2019
By: Aisha Phoenix
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alexandra Seidel
Podcast read by: Alexandra Seidel
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: