Size / / /

for Asakiyume

The architect of snow and stone

sculpts crystals into single perfect snowflakes

her solstice-gifts to eye and heart.

Her lenses are chill and crisp:

contact-correction to prisms' paradigm,

orienting souls to the slow creep of crystal-growth,

the angled jewels of cooling liquid.

Sublime; shattered in all shards,

ever absent from the moss-cushioned world,

she seeks not the rounded rock-runs left for lichen,

the great glassine groove-paths from gliding glaciers.

For her there are only all the ices, condensing:

the endless play of methane on nitrogen,

ammonia on water, crinkled carbonised crust,

limpid layers in diffuse depths, tints revealed

in the pale offerings of a day-distant Sun.

For those who visit, staying half an orbit,

she folds kindness into a viewpoint:

origami-intricate flowers of fractal petals

blooming into blackness under slow cosmic-ray rain.

They blossom fresh as frost-numbed pain

only once the world's atmosphere snows out again.


This poem was part of our 2012 fund drive bonus issue! Read more about Strange Horizons' funding model, or donate, here.




Michele Bannister has an uncommon fondness for distant worlds both small and icy. She lives in Australia, where she is working towards her doctorate in astronomy. Her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Ideomancer, Stone Telling and other venues, in the Here, We Cross anthology (Stone Bird Press, 2012), and is forthcoming in inkscrawl and Goblin Fruit.
Current Issue
24 Jan 2022

Piece of my essence, accept my sorry.
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By: Katy Bond
By: Averi Kurth
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Katy Bond
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents the poetry of the 24 January issue.
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I love flash fiction for a lot of reasons. There’s the instant gratification of reading a complete work of fiction in just a few minutes. And there’s the way flash lends itself to playful, inventive experimentation with form, prose, style, voice, and subject. I also love the way a flash story can be honed and sharpened as everything extraneous is eliminated, and the way it can capture and convey the essence of something—an emotion, a world, a situation, a possibility, an idea, even a joke!—in brilliant brevity.
Wednesday: I am the Tiger by John Ajvide Lindqvist, translated by Marlaine Delargy 
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