Size / / /

I pretend that I've found you, shipwrecked

and you had lost a lot of blood—

the shore is sick with it

my dress is dyed by it and my hands

my hands are like angels at your side.

I know how land hurts you:

the sand slices your skin to fine ribbon

and the air grinds you raw inside.

I know you have no hands. Your tongue

is in my pocket. When you tell me you love me

I will give them back.

I gave you the brightest whitest pearls

shucked from oysters' wombs and set them

into the pink hollows of your skull.

You take to them

like I take your head into my lap.

Every night that you're with me

she sends her fish to bring you back.

They drag themselves across the beach,

open their silly gasping mouths

and retch up a wave of longing and loss,

a stagnant smell of forgetting, like an undertow.

I crush their little heads beneath my heel

grind their guts into the cold coarse sand.

I know she will hear their blood as it dries.

This is how she plans to drown me and take you back:

with her despair.

She weeps for you, rages,

but her tidal waves and howling hurricanes are nothing

nothing compared to my love for you.

No matter how many ships she swallows, or how many men

she spits up on shore, grotesquely bleached and bloated,

no matter how many limbs she rips from their bodies

with her sharks and their well-muscled jaws

I will not give you back.

Never forget the weight of you

as I dragged you from the waves,

how you spat up seaweed and gulped my tears.

Never forget that I gave you a heart

inner chambers spiraled like a shell.

Feel me: I too am wet and curved

like the dunes cascading into the sea.

I feed you fish and gull feathers. Keep you warm

in my twining arms, in my lap.

You grow and you grow.

I worry your soul will be as big as the ocean.

I worry that your pearl eyes will blind you

and you'll love only the sea.




Kathrin Köhler is a poet living in Madison, WI who has picked up the bad habit of writing fiction. She is interested in the influence and power narrative has in the construction of our understanding of reality. Work of hers has appeared in Goblin Fruit and Stone Telling.
Current Issue
18 Jan 2021

Splinters, old and new. How else can the skin remember the tree? If it hurts, that is the point.
By: Fatima Taqvi
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Courtney Floyd presents "Secrets of the Kath' by Fatima Taqvi. The full text of the story is available here.
Soft Shoulder speaking softly / quick-stop-tongued lanky cur dog / lisping languid in jeans
By: Zach Ozma
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Zach Ozma
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Zach Ozma's “Soft Shoulder (Excerpt)” with a reading by the poet.
The way I see it, this story is full of symbolic touchstones, visual elements with layers of meaning that are not always obvious, or even accessible, to the reader.
Wednesday: Bulbbul 
Issue 11 Jan 2021
By: Ryu Ando
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Nikki Caffier Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 4 Jan 2021
By: Maya Beck
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Burt
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Stephanie Burt
Issue 21 Dec 2020
By: Octavia Cade
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Meep Matsushima
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Meep Matsushima
Issue 14 Dec 2020
By: ML Kejera
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
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Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Brigid Nemeton
7 Dec 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for the Palestinian Special issue! The issue, edited by Rasha Abdulhadi and Basma Ghalayini will be published at the end of March 2021. We are open for submissions from now until January 31, 2021. Don't wait till the end to send your work!
7 Dec 2020
تقديم الطلبات مفتوح من الان و حتى تاريخ 31 يناير 2021. قدم/ قدمي عملك عاجلا و ليس آجلا!
Issue 7 Dec 2020
By: Toby MacNutt
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Anna Cates
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Dec 2020
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Ateri Miyawatl
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Adam Coon
By: Vraiux Dorós
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
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Translated by: Andrea Chapela
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Translated by: Allana C. Noyes
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast read by: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast: Bromelia (English) 
Podcast: Bromelia (Español) 
Issue 23 Nov 2020
By: Michael Bazzett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Michael Bazzett
Issue 16 Nov 2020
By: Cat Aquino
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Michael Chang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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