Size / / /

Content warning:

Grandmother, you taught me to dress
in all red and blood. You taught me
to cook, care for myself, and you faced
the challenges of single-parent life without
complaint, without thinking or questioning.

Grandmother, you told me stories of bad
wolves and mother-eating monsters that
lurk in the dark riverbanks, sang songs
of grief, of loss, of red-stained moss, you
loved vivid images and vicious roars,
mentions of swords in grey-black furs.

Grandmother, your hands were a heavy
dance on my cheeks when I burned
on the stove, when I broke the plates,
when I was five minutes late from
the grocery store. You painted
my skin with vivid red bruises, vulgar
words, brightly shattered bones.

Grandmother, my mind was a forest fog,
dipped in questions and worry. Will I
finish my chores before your teeth, should I
speak out loud my thoughts before the rolling pin,
can I run faster than your big steps before your anger
crushed the doors, ripped my hair, stained
my core with the residue
of my screams.

Grandmother, at the riverside, in the dark, I met
someone. Please hear me out, a big
black wolf approached me and told me
a story of a lonely woman who
gave birth to a girl who gave birth
to a girl. Put the knife down.

Grandmother, the wolf’s voice was
a lullaby, the night sky, a nourishment of my empty
soul, soft, sweet, whole, like a mother’s voice.
Grandmother, wait. You loved her. I know.
Like you love me. Like you love control.

Grandmother, listen. Don’t come any
closer. Don’t. Why don’t you listen.
Grandmother, the teeth around your wrist
are the vise around my life. The dogtooth
stuck in your throat is you deep in the center
of my remade bones.

Grandmother, don’t worry. Mother and I will
take good care of you. Of your ears,
your teeth, your eyes, your claws.
Grandmother, your heart reeks of stale
lies and black breath. Grandmother, your heart
tastes of you.

Eva Papasoulioti is a Greek writer of speculative fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in Uncanny, Solarpunk Magazine, Heartlines Spec, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for the Rhysling and Dwarf Stars Awards. She lives in Athens with her spouse and their two cats. You can find her on Twitter/X and Bluesky @epapasoulioti and on her blog
Current Issue
8 Apr 2024

the burrowing spiders, / backs the size of satellites, / orbiting your hair
And these meteors still fall to the earth.
Graduate Assistant Four Fronds Turning had made the best guacamole that Mike had ever tasted in his original or post-revival life, and it was all wrong.
Issue 1 Apr 2024
Issue 25 Mar 2024
By: Sammy Lê
Art by: Kim Hu
Issue 18 Mar 2024
Strange Horizons
Issue 11 Mar 2024
Issue 4 Mar 2024
Issue 26 Feb 2024
Issue 19 Feb 2024
Issue 12 Feb 2024
Issue 5 Feb 2024
Issue 29 Jan 2024
Load More
%d bloggers like this: