Size / / /

I teach you how to nick the skin between your fingers, worry the cut
open and blow on it with hot salty breath, and wait for slow joints to
grow from the slit. Your new fingers are especially skilled at pulling
up loose floorboards and playing with the tangle of my Spanish moss hair.

You used to have wings, but I nibbled them off long ago. You don't
begrudge it; now you are all limbs, the more to hold on to me with.
Your knees and elbows creak as I bend them this way and that, tenderly
so as not to break them. Your skin ripples with laughter at my manipulations.

I show you how to season a broth to perfection with dried compost and
twigs and pieces of oyster shells. Rhizomes of microscopic mushrooms
float on top as we bathe in it, thick steam tickling deep behind our eyes like pollen.

I teach you to break a walnut out of its shell in one perfect piece
and to swallow it whole. The conjoined twin brains of it make a home
deep in your gut, its filigree roots siphoning nutrients out of your
bloodstream as it waits for the perfect conditions to sprout.

Soon I will cut a piece from my body and hold it in place against your
raw flesh with bandages of vine leaves and training wire. When
synchronous buds emerge from both of our wounds, I will wonder if the
coming blooms will be of the same hue.




Layla Al-Bedawi is a poet, writer, and bookbinder (among other things). English is her third language, but she's been dreaming in it for years. Born in Germany to Kurdish and Ukrainian parents, she currently lives in Houston, TX, where she co-founded Fuente Collective and champions experimentation, collaboration, and hybridity in writing an other arts. Her work is published in Liminal Stories, Mithila Review, Bayou Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine, and elsewhere. Find her at laylaalbedawi.com and @frauleinlayla.
Current Issue
2 Dec 2019

Winter has finally ended, and here you are, on the first day of summer, stuffing your pink feet into the sand.
By: Sheldon Costa
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Sheldon Costa's “The Garden's First Rule.”
small bones / holding flecks of ash / rigid in her hands.
By: Mari Ness
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Mari Ness's “Gretel's Bones.”
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
Issue 28 Oct 2019
By: Kelly Stewart
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kelly Stewart
Monday: Aniara 
,
Issue 21 Oct 2019
By: Omar William Sow
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Amy H. Robinson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Oct 2019
By: Kevin Wabaunsee
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Oct 2019
By: Charles Payseur
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Davian Aw
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Sep 2019
By: Kali de los Santos
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Heitor Zen
Podcast read by: Julia Quandt
By: Sérgio Motta
Podcast read by: Sérgio Motta
By: Isa Prospero
Podcast read by: Solaine Chioro
Monday: 3% 
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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
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