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When we step into the cottage
we know what we are getting into

Didn't our mother tell us not to talk to strangers?

but we enter anyway
into the smell of iron.

We have been walking in the woods all day—
we have been walking in the wood since we were born
and now we must squeeze our soul into the shape of four walls, a roof
where it is small and dark, like the belly of an animal.

The bed is waiting, but the fire comes first.

"Take off your cloak, my dear, and lay it in the fire
                                    you won’t need it anymore."

We lay the red hood on the flames and watch them eat it up
                                    they love it so
devouring the tender fibers.

We peel away all of our layers and consign them to the fire
until the ashes of cotton underpants mix
with the ashes of blissful ignorance
until we are all that is left.

Now we are truly afraid, when the darkness touches our nakedness
and we see ourselves reflected in the shadows
and it terrifies us.

And that is why
when the voice calls from the bed
                                   "Come get into bed with me."
we go like docile lambs

to the smell of blood
and the gleam of eyes
where a grimace of big teeth
promises to teach us to go disguised
in other people's skins.

Charis lives with her cat, Mithril, in a room full of books and craft supplies. She makes damn fine cakes. Her website is
Current Issue
26 Sep 2022

Would a Teixcalaanli aristocrat look up at the sky, think of Lsel Station, and wonder—with Auden—"what doubtful act allows/ Our freedom in this English house/ our picnics in the sun"?
I propose that The Expanse and its ilk present us with a similar sentiment, in reverse—a warning that for all the promise of futurism and technological advancement, plenty of new, and perhaps much worse futures are right before us. In the course of outrunning la vieux monde, we may find that we are awaited not simply by new worlds to win, but also many more which may yet be lost.
where oil slurped up out of the dirt, they drink the coffee
Science fiction is a genre that continues to struggle with its own colonialist history, of which many of its portrayals of extractivism are a part. Science fiction is also a genre that has a history of being socially progressive and conscious – these are both truths.
Bring my stones, my bones, back to me
If we are to accept that the extractive unconscious is latent, is everywhere, part of everything, but unseen and unspoken, and killing us in our waking lives, then science fiction constitutes its dreams.
they are quoting Darwish at the picket & i am finally breathing again
Waste is profoundly shaping and changing our society and our way of living. Our daily mundane world always treats waste as a hidden structure, together with its whole ecosystem, and places it beyond our sight, to maintain the glories of contemporary life. But unfortunately, some are advantaged by this, while others suffer.
Like this woman, I am carrying the world on my back.
So we’re talking about a violence that supplants the histories of people and things, scrubbing them clean so that they can fuel the oppressive and unequal status quo it sustains.
Issue 21 Sep 2022
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By: Cat T.
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