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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
28 Sep 2020

Short Fiction Treasures: Quarterly Short Fiction Round Up 
The unofficial theme for this Short Fiction Treasures column is “arts, crafts, and work.” Whether the art, craft, or work is the main theme of the story, or whether it’s there as background and setting, it can add a level of immersion and satisfying texture to speculative fiction that I find irresistible.
Undiscovered Hells 
disaster arrived; it is a promise
"Something of Freedom is Yet to Come": The Entangled Histories of Science Fiction and Capitalism 
Although the science fiction community has engaged in a significant, concerted, and necessary effort to correct for many of Campbell’s prejudices surrounding race and gender, there has yet to be a similar corrective effort on matters concerning class and labour.
Podcast: Undiscovered Hells 
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Maggie Damken's “Undiscovered Hells,” with a designed sound environment.
Monday: Unbecoming by Lesley Wheeler 
Wednesday: Sunkissed Feathers and Severed Ties by Kellie Doherty 
Issue 21 Sep 2020
By: Aqdas Aftab
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: David Clink
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Sep 2020
By: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Blackford
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Sep 2020
By: Catherynne M. Valente
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Bethany Powell
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bethany Powell
Issue 31 Aug 2020
By: R.B. Lemberg
By: Julia Rios
By: Sonya Taaffe
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: R.B. Lemberg
Podcast read by: Julia Rios
Podcast read by: Sonya Taaffe
Issue 24 Aug 2020
By: Leslie J. Anderson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Leslie J. Anderson
Issue 17 Aug 2020
By: Emma Törzs
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liz Adair
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Aug 2020
By: Anya Johanna DeNiro
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Laura Cranehill
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 3 Aug 2020
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Issue 20 Jul 2020
By: Ranylt Richildis
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: JD Fox
By: JD Fox
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: JD Fox
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for our Mexico Special issue, which will be published at the end of November 2020!
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