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Language in the town of Wyelle
is communally woven
by teams of spiders,
each one trained and selected for
a distinct word in the text.
Some words escape:
the corners of the cellars and the backs of cupboards
are full of senseless words,
and sacred texts spread into the wilds around
like an infection

In the forests outside Bairn,
torn by feuds and years-long fights,
trees record the spoken word,
stitch it into their trunks;
it takes three decades for the bark
to harden into legibility.
Among the feuding clans it's said
'Memory need not be perfect
only patient for the trees.'
When many speak at once
a grove will share transcription duties
as secretaries to the feuds

On the western shore of the Shawl Sea
writing is permitted only between tides
in the drying and dampening sand;
all words must be gone
by the high tide's turn
or be declared false, anathema.
Their texts are not lost,
so they claim,
for across the sea
the waves recreate each word
erased by the tides
an equal and opposite reaction;
whether the peoples of the coast
mean this literally or not
they will not say, but
in their spoken tales the sea
is often taken to mean death

Daniel Ausema is a writer and poet from Colorado. His poetry has previously appeared in Strange Horizons, and his fiction has appeared in many publications. He is also the creator of the steampunk-fantasy serial fiction project Spire City. He has a background in experiential education and is a stay-at-home dad.
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
Issue 17 Apr 2023
Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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