Size / / /

Content warning:


A romance, between the Forest and the Sea,
where the Sea is a woman covered only in seakelp
that binds tight around her like an evening dress
and her skin is pockmarked with barnacles
her hair jellyfish fingers, sand in her mouth,
fish in the wet of her eyes, swimming melancholic,
The Forest is a younger lady with a mess of moss
crowning her bark-flesh, her voice sounds like
a morning chorus, sometimes a nightjar,
she is naked, completely, but adorned with leaves
and wildflowers, and little insects between
her fingers and her toes. The song of crickets.

They met in a no-good gay nightclub in Kemptown
and the Sea danced with the Forest
to Madonna, twirling around each other, laughing
up to the top where the smoking area was
without realising that neither could do it;
the Sea drowned out every spark
whilst the Forest must be careful not to burn away.
But still they stood looking out
the Sea pointing at the horizon,
“That’s me,” she said, referring to the waves.
The Forest could not see herself from here.
She was here once. Long ago. They cleared her away
to build a village, a town, a city
on top of her remains. They kissed.

The problem with a romance between these two
is that they are not so different in the end.
Once, the Sea washed over where Forests now live
and the Sea has, in turn, washed away Forests
carrying driftwood from here to there
as little postcards of lovers. And so they kissed
but it would not be long until they realised
that they were both existing in spite of each other
or because of each other,
or on top of, or below, each other,
And so they kissed but bark becomes salty and wet
and the sea becomes dry
and the nightclub is awash with all these things
the sound system spluttering into nothing.
They each returned back. The Forest had the longer journey
taking the bus out till the roads were dark
and she could climb out and merge back
deep into the landscape. The Sea, she sat
a while on a jetty, letting her feet become
liquid then solid again, and in her hand holding
one small insect from her lover, now drowned.

The next morning, two hikers entered the Forest
and found that it was all terribly askew,
the birds all singing one another’s songs
and oak leaves sitting on elm branches.
“I have a horrible hangover,” she said to them.
“Out last night?” one of them asked.
“I met a girl. She made me all strange.
I can’t stop thinking about her.”
They laughed. “We know how it is.”

But the following week she left her place
and grew her way down to the city again,
wearing wild red roses on her tongue,
and the Sea climbed up from below
with pearls amongst herself
and they each reached out,
daring to hope that the other might come,
and maybe a wood could sink and be buried
beneath the waves somehow, or that
an ocean might exist in between
the pines and the undergrowth
or, or, somehow, somehow
something, something
soon, soon. Or perhaps.
Maybe. Yes. They said,
Let the landscapes change for us.



Alison Rumfitt is a nineteen-year-old transgender writer who studies English literature in Brighton, UK. She loves, amongst other things, forests, folklore, gothic romance, and wild theories about her favourite authors being trans. Her poetry has previously been published in Liminality, cahoodaloodaling, and Words Dance. Her poem “Only Trans Girl at the Party” was nominated for a 2017 Bettering American Poetry Award. You can find her on Twitter at @gothicgarfield, on Tumblr at mrsdewinter.tumblr.com, and performing live readings regularly in Brighton and London. You may reach her via email.
Current Issue
16 May 2022

we are whispered into this new land, this old land, whispered anew
i tuck myselves under coffin nails. and then i am the sun like a nairobi fly, burning spine and skin.
The last deer in heaven flees, and Sestu pursues.
Friday: Spear by Nicola Griffith 
Issue 9 May 2022
Podcast: 9 May Poetry 
Issue 2 May 2022
By: Eric Wang
By: Sara S. Messenger
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Sara S. Messenger
Issue 18 Apr 2022
By: Blaize Kelly Strothers
By: Ken Haponek
Podcast read by: Blaize Kelly Strothers
Podcast read by: Ken Haponek
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Apr 2022
Issue 4 Apr 2022
Issue 28 Mar 2022
Issue 21 Mar 2022
By: Devin Miller
Art by: Alex Pernau
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
Issue 14 Mar 2022
Strange Horizons
Issue 7 Mar 2022
Strange Horizons
28 Feb 2022
We would like stories that are joyous, horrific, hopeful, despondent, powerful and subtle. Write something that will take our breath away, make us yell and cry. Write unapologetically in your local patois and basilects in space; make references to local events and memes to your heart’s content. Write something that makes you laugh and cry. Indulge in all the hallmarks of your heritage that you find yourself yearning for in speculative literature, but know that we will not judge you based on your authenticity as a Southeast Asian. 
Load More
%d bloggers like this: