Size / / /

for Victoria Liao

We play out our fantasies in real life ways—
some sweet taboo silhouetted against red temptation,
a captured snake in a hot meadow, all stretching hydraulic
with the language of lust and peeling skin from fruit:
the tight-fitting black truth of my narrative shunted.

You give me energy, you make me feel lightweight;
when I’m chained collecting fresh lava for my daily brink test—
how long I can go without my face to the sun. As if
from a store display, as if I was plucked out among other
smooth dolls, mindlessly miming beauty, red-lipped, black-eyed,
your bumpy hands pressing pinpointed targets,
siphoning memory like gas through fishnets,
stamped on wet inner thighs, folds of flesh.

Send your location, come through—
this time, direction betrays my home body, the flight.
I traipse nets of red teas and spiny shoes in the dark, the truth
at the bottom of the grave growing songs more delicious
than your maps, eking out my phony domain. In another
life, I would open my throat and black pearls would drop.

We’ve all been there some days.
You don’t really deserve a warm body to squeeze.
To steal blood from stone is dark magic; to warp
hell into a nest, a feat. Love, this mortal plague,
crows in vain at my new escape for the portal.
You’re pouring your heart out. I am lied to
for the last time. The right dance sets me free—
when I push against the dead earth, the earth pushes back.


[Author’s Note: This poem was inspired by, and uses lyrics from, Doja Cat’s “Streets.”]

Terese Mason Pierre is a Toronto-based writer whose work has appeared in Fantasy, The Walrus, FIYAH, and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Elgin Award, the bpNichol Chapbook Award, the Pushcart Prize, and others. She is the co-editor in chief of Augur Magazine and the author of chapbooks “Surface Area” and “Manifest.” Visit her website 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.
Wednesday: And Lately, The Sun edited by Calyx Create Group 
Friday: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White 
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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Issue 20 Feb 2023
Issue 13 Feb 2023
Issue 6 Feb 2023
Issue 30 Jan 2023
By: Catherine Rockwood
By: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Catherine Rockwood
Podcast read by: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Maureen Kincaid Speller
Issue 23 Jan 2023
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