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Nothing is right.
The bird I thought was made of glass is turning to ash.
I shouldn't have given her away like that;
strangers' hands are deserts,
white salt flats under a dazzling sky,
with nowhere to hide while still in one piece.

It's better this way.

She always comes back a dogeared book.
A chipped thrift store figurine that never flew.
Grandma's-house dust on her wings,
soft and suffocating and almost sweet.
Her leftover song a discordant nightmare,
drilling into what's left of my brain
like a woodpecker beak on a goldfinch body
that can't bear the strain.

It's better this way

She no longer fits inside my chest where she belongs,
or maybe she never fit in the first place.
Or maybe it's me who's changed shape,
my ribcage a crucible too hot to hold her.
Perhaps we're old lovers, each grown too much to recognize the other,
and it's time for one or both of us to fly free.

It's better this way.



A.Z. Louise was a participant in the Winter Tangerine 2016 Summer Workshop.  Her poetry has previously been published in Wizards in Space Literary Magazine.

Current Issue
28 Oct 2019

crest the hill on my courser black as bee stripes / with honey in my eyes.
By: Kelly Stewart
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kelly Stewart
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Kelly Stewart's “The Bandit King” with a reading by poet.
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Issue 23 Sep 2019
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Issue 16 Sep 2019
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Issue 19 Aug 2019
By: S. R. Mandel
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