Size / / /

Redder than an apple,

with a smell like pencil shavings

and chalk-white, half-erased eyes,

it sits in the back of the classroom

watching us

(and by us I mean the entire clutch

of sixth-grade boys),

growling at the first sign

of trouble, whether it's gum-chewing,

text messaging, or basic

inattention—although somedays

even bad penmanship

will raise its hackles—

threatening to either amend our

permanent record, write a note to our

parents, or, in the case of

Catholic instruction, rap our fingers

with a ruler.

Various stratagems for outwitting

the beast have been tried

or suggested over the years,

entering the lore of playground

and bathroom graffitti, but

the only effective means I've

ever found is chemical: two Ritalin,

which I'm taking now, even as

the first bell rings.

Presently, as my hand rises up, it's

the clarity of math that frightens me.




Robert Borski works for a consortium of elves repairing shoes in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. You can read more of his work in our archives.
Current Issue
14 Oct 2019

Two in the morning in the booth of an all-night diner a block off Santa Monica Boulevard, and I was trying to convince the Great Mandini to tell me his secrets.
By: Kevin Wabaunsee
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Kevin Wabaunsee's “The Great Mandini and the Dead Man's Hand.”
atol de elote, pho, boba, pupusas / Taco Tuesday tacos, one dollar Spam musubi
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Podcast read by: Ruben Reyes Jr.
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In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Ruben Reyes Jr.'s “Heaven Is Expensive,” as read by the poet.
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Issue 9 Sep 2019
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31 Aug 2019
Brazil Special Issue call for fiction submissions!
Issue 26 Aug 2019
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Podcast read by: Cynthia So
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Issue 5 Aug 2019
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By: Alexandra Seidel
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