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At night I don’t dream.
I lie down in my bed and
close my eyes and
cover the lids with two coins. I pull up
the blanket over my head as
far as it will go.
And I wait for the adventure.

I fear I might lose my teeth
and become a porridge-eating mountain hag.
My grandmother lost hers and her mouth
was raw and empty and always redder than
I thought healthy. I brush my teeth every
morning and after every meal and before
I lie down in bed with my coins and shroud. In
between, I floss.

I have many pairs of shoes but
only ever one pair at a time
that really fits, that really walks
the long roads with me.
Whenever I replace that pair,
I have to learn anew how to tie
my laces, how to knock my heels together,
tap tap tap.

All my life
I would have loved to have a pet,
cat to my witch, hound to my fairy.
I never got one because
I did not want to turn
the back yard into a cemetery.

On my shopping list I write
I put the oatmeal in my shopping cart
and on my list, I cross out the word
with black ink, the magic of forgetting.
Immediately, I feel sorry.

Two pink lines mean yes
and one means no.
I do not know what I’d prefer
or what I should say
if someone asked me
a yes/no question. I wipe
my eyes with toilet paper.

I collect photos to collect
my life. They almost
show something meaningful,
are almost enough for a voodoo doll.
In my hands
the photos fall apart
like a make-up face
in rain.

Alexandra Seidel spent many a night stargazing when she was a child. These days, she writes stories and poems, something the stargazing probably helped with. Alexa’s writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, Fireside Magazine, and elsewhere. You can follow her on Twitter @Alexa_Seidel, like her Facebook page, and find out what she’s up to at
Current Issue
27 Mar 2023

close calls when / I’m with Thee / dressed to the nines
they took to their heels but the bird was faster.
In this episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Reviews Editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland talk to novelist, reviewer, and Strange Horizons’ Co-ordinating Editor, Gautam Bhatia, about how reviewing and criticism of all kinds align—and do not—with fiction-writing and the genre more widely.
If the future is here, but unevenly distributed, then so is the past.
He claims that Redlow used to be a swamp and he has now brought them into the future before the future. Yes he said that.
My previous Short Fiction Treasures column was all about science fiction, so it’s only fair that the theme this time around is fantasy.
I’ve come to think of trans-inclusive worldbuilding as an activist project in itself, or at least analogous to the work of activists. When we imagine other worlds, we have to observe what rules we are creating to govern the characters, institutions, and internal logic in our stories. This means looking at gender from the top down, as a regulatory system, and from the bottom up, at the people on the margins whose bodies and lives stand in some kind of inherent opposition to the system itself.
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By: Romie Stott
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