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I grew up

in a house made of clouds

with walls of wind

and floors of fine red dust.

I could stretch my wings

and never come to an end of it.

I grew up

in a land made of storm,

whose hills were updrafts,

whose valleys were downdrafts,

all spiraling inward.

I could glide for miles or months

and never come to the end of it.

I grew up

in the Great Red Spot.

My parents moved here

from the homeworld before I hatched.

I watched the silver eggs fly by without wings,

and mother would crackle to me that they

belonged to humans, who lived

in houses of hard wood

on lands made of dust.

I felt a little sorry for them

to be so small, so solid, so finite,

and said so. My father laughed,

a broadband burst of static,

and said that some people

envied the humans,

wanting to walk on dust

and live in wood

as they did.

When I stopped laughing back,

I said no, no—far better

to live in a cloudhouse

in the stormland

and be free.




Elizabeth Barrette writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in the fields of speculative fiction, gender studies, and alternative spirituality. She serves as Dean of Studies for the Grey School of Wizardry. She hosts a monthly Poetry Fishbowl on her blog. She enjoys suspension-of-disbelief bungee jumping and spelunking in other people's reality tunnels. You can email Elizabeth at ysabet@worthlink.net, and see more of Elizabeth's work in the books Companion for the Apprentice Wizard and Composing Magic, and in our archives.
Current Issue
24 Feb 2020

tight braids coiled into isles and continents against our scalps
Podcast: New York, 2009 
By: Mayra Paris
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Mayra Paris's “New York, 2009.”
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Wednesday: The Heart of the Circle by Keren Landsman 
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Issue 17 Feb 2020
By: Priya Sridhar
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
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Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Feb 2020
By: Shannon Sanders
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 3 Feb 2020
By: Ada Hoffmann
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By: S.R. Tombran
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Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
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Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
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By: Jessica P. Wick
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Issue 13 Jan 2020
By: Julianna Baggott
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By: Terese Mason Pierre
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Podcast read by: Terese Mason Pierre
Issue 6 Jan 2020
By: Mitchell Shanklin
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By: Nikoline Kaiser
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Issue 23 Dec 2019
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Issue 16 Dec 2019
By: Osahon Ize-Iyamu
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
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Issue 9 Dec 2019
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessy Randall
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