Size / / /

He draws on the iron claws
forged by the blacksmith,
eats the raw meat and honey
the villagers have brought him,
last of all
pulls on the thick pelt.
Dark smell, earth smell.

Now, you say, he becomes a bear.
Truly a bear, though summerlong
he's lived among them
learning to hunt and growl,
learning bees and old gods.

What happens next? I ask.
We're skin and skin,
the night's around us
as your lips move, storyteller.

Next, you say, he goes into the woods
where the wolf-demon dwells.
The villagers never see him
again, their protector,
but their milk stays uncurdled,
cows' tails uncut, bones unbroken.
They know he saved them.

But they never speak of him.

Only the witch remembers,
wise-eyes makes an offering
yearly, on the day the bear walked
into the demon woods.
She burns rowan, brings honey
and sweet, sweet berries
for him
who heard the bear king's last breath,
who killed the demon,
who was man and bear
and asked for nothing.

Silence. I'm crying
as you do, after a story.
We drift to sleep.

I dream of iron claws and honey.




Sara Norja dreams in two languages. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, inkscraw, and Interfictions. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications and is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Online and An Alphabet of Embers (ed. Rose Lemberg). She is @suchwanderings on Twitter.
Current Issue
23 Jan 2023

Strange Horizons is looking to add a social media editor to our editorial collective. 
Listening to the radio, I heard that the star Regulus is 79 light years from the Earth.
The ghosts you hear across / the blackened fields are only smothered stars
Lion City is Ng’s attempt at situating Singapore’s postcolonial hybrid identity through his work forces readers to pause and reconsider Singapore’s place in the world before further progress is made.
Reverse extractivism is a colonial fever-dream, one that the reveals the colonist’s ultimate desires through its uncanny logics If extractivism is empire’s removal of resources from the periphery without industrial development or fair compensation, reverse extractivism is the imbrication of the colonizer into the very being of the colonized, such that resources don’t need to be removed to be exploited for the benefit of empire.
I might write only one story in a month, but I'll make sure that it has five times the strength and the effect.
One of my favorite flavors of science fiction is the far-future space adventure where we explore an interstellar society through the lens of a personal, character-driven story.
Issue 16 Jan 2023
Friday: The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman 
Issue 9 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
2 Jan 2023
Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
Issue 2 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
Issue 19 Dec 2022
Issue 12 Dec 2022
Issue 5 Dec 2022
Issue 28 Nov 2022
By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
Issue 21 Nov 2022
Issue 14 Nov 2022
Load More
%d bloggers like this: