Size / / /

Content warning:


He sent me a picture

of a long sinuous line, dark

as entrails and wet,

curving on the floor.

‘Sappy,’ he wrote. ‘But

I want you.’

 

‘I want you,’ I replied.

 

I could not quite

smell apple-flesh

and the air suddenly redolent

of borderlands,

early sunsets,

the season trees begin to dress for death.

But I thought of apple skin clinging

to a curve, yet unshaped

by apple-sorcery. I thought

of my mouth pressed against

flushed skin,

my breath coming back to me:

a premonition of the first

sweet bite, and the second.

 

‘Did you throw it over

your shoulder?’

 

These things have their rules.

Don’t let the skin break,

as it curls away from your thumb and knife.

Don’t let the skin break,

as you set the gold-fleshed fruit down.

Don’t let the skin break,

when you toss it.

Listen for the almost inaudible

slap when the peel hits the floor

and the future arranges it

into your lover’s initial.

Witness.

‘I did,’ he says.

 

What is sap? A sticky

mess, a syrup,

sweet-bitter with smoke.

A sugary crusty

tallow ripple

cleaving

the bark. An injury

which leaks a

sweetness —

The vascular system of

flowering things;

movement;

life.



Jessica P. Wick is a writer and freelance editor living in Rhode Island. She enjoys rambling through graveyards and writing by candlelight. Her poetry may be found scattered across the internet. Her novella “An Unkindness” is out June 2020 in A Sinister Quartet from Mythic Delirium. Other dark fiction may be found in Rigor Morbid: Lest Ye Become from Bronzeville Books.
Current Issue
10 Jan 2022

Angela says if I want to film the rituals, I cannot do so as an outsider or a guest. The rituals are private, she says, and a secret. That is the problem, I say, I want to film them because they are a secret.
Before she knew it, she was falling out of the sky like a waterfall and through a canopy of thick, wet leaves. Fell hard into the soil.
There is a djinn for everything: every act of forgetting, every act of remembering. Every act of oppression, every act of protest. Every act of civil resistance, every arrest, every injury, every death. There is a selfish djinn, and a selfless djinn. There is a djinn for beauty, a djinn for zakhm, a djinn for kindness, a djinn for empathy. A djinn for absence, a djinn for inaction; a djinn for climate, a djinn for crisis, a djinn for war, a djinn for peace. What are words but
Issue 3 Jan 2022
Strange Horizons
By: Antonio Funches
By: Lev Mirov
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Dec 2021
By: Merie Kirby
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Dec 2021
By: Freydís Moon
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Dec 2021
By: C. S. E. Cooney
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: C. S. E. Cooney
Issue 29 Nov 2021
Issue 22 Nov 2021
Issue 15 Nov 2021
By: Madeline Grigg
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Nov 2021
By: Allison Parrish
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Nov 2021
By: Liam Corley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Liam Corley
Issue 25 Oct 2021
Strange Horizons
Load More
%d bloggers like this: