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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
5 Apr 2021

They say we broke Nairobi; we whose tears do not burn; whose blood runs cold.
i think the princesses are sick of constellations by now
By: Caroline Dinh
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Caroline Dinh's “city girls.”
Issue 29 Mar 2021
By: Iman Alzaghari
By: Fargo Tbakhi
By: leena aboutaleb
By: Nada Almosa
By: Layla Azmi Goushey
By: Najah Hussein Musa
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Iman Alzaghari
Podcast read by: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: leena aboutaleb
Podcast read by: Nada Almosa
Podcast read by: Najah Hussein Musa
Podcast read by: Layla Azmi Goushey
Issue 22 Mar 2021
Issue 15 Mar 2021
By: Isana Skeete
Podcast read by: Isana Skeete
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 8 Mar 2021
By: Lorraine Wilson
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Gerri Leen
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Mar 2021
By: Sasha LaPointe
Podcast read by: Sasha LaPointe
Issue 22 Feb 2021
By: Hal Y. Zhang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 15 Feb 2021
By: Wen-yi Lee
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Feb 2021
By: Varsha Dinesh
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
By: Sarah Kathryn Moore
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Sarah Kathryn Moore
Issue 1 Feb 2021
By: Tamara Jerée
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Betsy Aoki
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Paul Starr
Issue 25 Jan 2021
By: Beatriz F. Fernandez
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Beatriz F. Fernandez
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