Size / / /

Tankers off our coastlines spill blood

transported from across the world

already clotted black as it reaches us.

This time the victims are sea birds;

someone has voted their proxies,

perhaps at the committee considering

whether to put global warming on the agenda

for its last meeting ever.

I think of my high school chemistry teacher,

her smock brown from spilled tannic acid,

stopping in the middle of an experiment

to quote Francis Thompson to us:

"thou canst not stir a flower

without the troubling of a star."

The poem has stayed with me, the ink

of a permanent tattoo,

the meaning of a red rose

just before it's dipped in liquid nitrogen.

Absolute zero is stirring

in the President's head

while someone tolls a bell

in a drowned cathedral:

Death once

death twice

going, going. . . .

I try to listen for a green word

from the redwoods that haven't been

replaced by Redwood Village

but something crimson is in the wind.

Once more,

the planet's blood is on our hands,

and not enough clean water left to wash it off.




Duane Ackerson's poetry has appeared in Rolling Stone, Yankee, Prairie Schooner, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Cloudbank, alba, Starline, Dreams & Nightmares, and several hundred other places. He has won two Rhysling awards and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Salem, Oregon. You can find more of his work in our archives.
Current Issue
27 Jan 2020

Oozing dripping grey tentacles maim & rip open everyone at the party while you & I keep vaping out here by the garage.
By: Weston Richey
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Weston Richey's “Disemboweled Sonnet for Telling Your Crush You Like Him in the Waning Hours of the Party.”
By engaging the vampiric archetype, Butler and Gomez write black queer lives into an eternal future where we can continue our coalition building, our resistance of hegemony, and the creation of chosen families.
Perhaps for every African speculative fiction novel translated into whatever language, the publisher could publish another African author in their own language.
History treated people like me as curiosities, freaks, and monsters of legend. Human monstrosity is something we've been writing about in SF/F/Spec for as long as genre writing has existed, and that's forever. Writing about myself in those terms, at least in my verse, feels like both reclamation and rebellion. 
Wednesday: Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell 
Friday: Fates and Furies by Christine Lucas 
Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Jan 2020
By: Julianna Baggott
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Terese Mason Pierre
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Terese Mason Pierre
Issue 6 Jan 2020
By: Mitchell Shanklin
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 23 Dec 2019
By: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Dec 2019
By: Osahon Ize-Iyamu
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liu Chengyu
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Dec 2019
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessy Randall
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Dec 2019
By: Sheldon Costa
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mari Ness
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 25 Nov 2019
By: Nisa Malli
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nisa Malli
Issue 18 Nov 2019
By: Marika Bailey
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alicia Cole
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Nov 2019
By: Rivqa Rafael
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mary McMyne
By: Ugonna-Ora Owoh
Podcast read by: Mary McMyne
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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