Size / / /


when we watched the Revolution live on TV
in my apartment on the Victory Avenue.
I was a young blonde girl
and you were clutching your militsiya hat between your legs.
When they shot Ceauşescu
his petrified look was mirrored on your face
because just like him
you never thought the tyrant could ever die.

the first time we met
in an orphanage in our beloved city of Stalin.
I had a different face every day
and you used to steal food from the communal kitchen.
The caretakers used to beat you harshly
and at night tucked away in a grimy corner
I used to paint swirls and stars on my skin
to make you smile.

Through your veins ran the blood
of ancient warriors and heavenly shepherds,
through mine ran the void
of being born a tabula rasa.
no father; no mother; no name; no history
What brought us together
was the fateful day of the 1st of October 1966
when the State Council of the Socialist Republic of Romania decreed:
Interruption of pregnancy is forbidden.

when we left the orphanage
at eighteen years old.
Your birthday was on the 27th of June
so I decided it would be mine, too.
You left for the army
because you wanted to be a policeman one day
and someone who forfeits his military service
is no friend of the state.

when we met again years later
on the streets of Bucharest.
I was a young man in Turkish blue jeans
and you were donning the blue uniform of the militsiya.
You scolded me because two months before
a robbery at the National Bank made the headlines in Scînteia
and you knew it was me
wearing the face of a clerk.

I confessed my guilt
staring at my wooden-soled shoes
but the question crashed into the roof of my mouth
like the sounds do when you try to call out my name.
The question was
if the state was the people
and the wealth equally belonged to all of us
how come that none of it
ever graced our hands?

when you were waiting in line for meat
on Rosetti St.
You had been there since 6 o’clock sharp
and I was a middle aged shopkeeper.
I told you: “You won’t find a scrap of meat left
because what hasn’t already been rationed
was stolen by the shop ladies
or by me.”

when we had a feast that day at my place
but we ate in the dark because they cut the electricity again.
You said you found your place in the world.
I was a stranger everywhere I went.
I smiled for your success
while my solitude consumed me like a cancer.
I was a million different people
and none of them were me.

I haven’t seen your face in years
and I’ve been living my life unknown by others.
I want to tell you how the Revolution
changed everything while everything still stayed the same.
I wait for our next meeting
like you used to wait for a mythical mother
to take you home
or for the taste of freedom
to flood your famished mouth.

Mina Florea lives in Constanta, Romania. She is fond of all things Eastern European and has a dubiously healthy obsession with etymologies. You can best contact her by throwing pebbles at her windows in the dead of night.
Current Issue
27 Jul 2020

Stefan škrtl další sirkou a zapálil jednu ze svíček, které s sebou přinesl, pak další a další, dokud je neobklopoval celý kruh. Hanna nakrčila nos. Svíčky vydávaly zvláštní zápach, ale ne nepříjemný. Připomínal čerstvě posečenou trávu. I jejich tmavě olivová barva byla nezvyklá.
By: Amel Moussa
Translated by: Hager Ben Driss
Many things in my kitchen resemble me; I relate to them; we entertain one another. Water, fire, and electricity vegetables, water rich fruits, and dry fruits
أشياء ٌكثيرةٌ في مطبخي تُشبهني أتماهى مع هذه الأشياء ونُؤنسُ بعضنا.
He ignored her remark, ignited another match and lit a small candle. Then another one. He continued until a circle of candles surrounded them on the stage. Hanna scrunched her nose. The candles exuded a strange smell, but not an unpleasant one. It resembled freshly mown grass. The color was unusual too, a deep olive-green.
By: Eisuke Aikawa
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
The translucent Ōe-san steps out of the bathroom and sits at the table as usual. He spreads butter on an invisible slice of bread, takes a bite, and chews it, holding the morning paper in his other hand. Just like a mime. I sit on the floor and observe his movements.
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!
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons lanza su convocatoria en busca textos narrativos para su Especial de México, que se publicará a finales de noviembre de 2020!
Issue 13 Jul 2020
By: Alex Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Kimberly Kaufman
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Jul 2020
By: Stephen O'Donnell
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Thomas White
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Jun 2020
By: Carlie St. George
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Janelle C. Shane
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 22 Jun 2020
By: Neha Maqsood
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Neha Maqsood
Issue 15 Jun 2020
By: Remy Reed Pincumbe
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Preston Grassmann
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Jun 2020
By: Kathleen Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Keaton Bennett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Jun 2020
By: Sheree Renée Thomas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Load More
%d bloggers like this: