Size / / /

For my child
in the new land.
The only spell
I ever learnt.
Of needles and sleep.
 
There'll be the warehouse.
Sewing machine beating
out years and days.
There'll be the markets.
Curled lock-ups at dawn,
hungry side streets,
armfuls of snides.
Stutter of tarpaulin and steel
against the morning dark.
 
There'll be the man at the gate.
Stand back, he'll say.
There's nothing to see.
His fists and radio-crackled voices
of a country where tv light
smooths to white-sheeted sleep.
 
There'll be running
over slanted pavement
as the bricks the metal
the glass
will not yield.
 
Say it.
"Some entered rivers,
became the stones and the weeds.
Some crawled into basements,
were the dark and mice behind doors.
Some sought out the soft ground
to spend their bodies
to the flowers and roots."
My child
in the new land.
This is the only spell
I ever learnt.
 
That you won't know their open-jawed vans.
Or watch car lights blur into rain
as they bear you through night.
Won't be curved metal wise
through the staunch tight sky,
or spoken into a windowless room
to learn just what you're worth.
 
That you'll sleep
as the earth spins as
the cities swell
and the walls breed
as the glass smashes
and the fires spread,
sleep safe as this lonely spell
holds you in a secret place
until a lazy gardener
cuts you awake
and no one remembers this.




Ruth Jenkins writes speculative poetry and interactive fiction on cities, coding and magic. Ruth's writing has previously appeared in Goblin Fruit, Scheherezade's Bequest, and Verse Kraken. Her website is fractoluminous.tumblr.com.
Current Issue
17 Feb 2020

Dr. Olk rarely took new patients. They liked him so much that his schedule was booked. I got lucky when one of them had to cancel due to having their brain turned inside out.
By: Priya Sridhar
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Priya Sridhar's “The Oldest Solution.”
Slip out of duty like a loose shirt. Hide from the biting hum of time.
By: E. F. Schraeder
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents E. F. Schraeder's “Procrastination (A Lullaby).”
Friday: Windhome by Kristin Landon 
Issue 10 Feb 2020
By: Shannon Sanders
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 3 Feb 2020
By: Ada Hoffmann
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: S.R. Tombran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Jan 2020
By: Julianna Baggott
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Terese Mason Pierre
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Terese Mason Pierre
Issue 6 Jan 2020
By: Mitchell Shanklin
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 23 Dec 2019
By: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Dec 2019
By: Osahon Ize-Iyamu
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liu Chengyu
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Dec 2019
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessy Randall
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Dec 2019
By: Sheldon Costa
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mari Ness
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: