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at twelve you are Cassandra

sitting on the rooftop with your mouth full of snakes


you know already your body will rot

like a peony, over-plump

and full of starving ants


you know your flesh will mangle itself

as it has begun already




it helps to think of yourself as an animal


a dog, a horse, something to thump

the flank of and inhale their earthy scent

and whisper sweet meaningless things

into their ears


a body that runs and eats and sleeps

and smells of sweat and mud

and is stroked long and loving each night

after a job well done




it helps to think of yourself as a painting


impressionists, renaissance, flesh adored

in wild color and gorgeous light


the bodies of round-hipped maidens desired

by no less than bulls and gods




it’s all about the lighting

we all know this

purchase lipstick in a hundred shades


chin out, mouth open

flaunt your teeth like candy

flick your tongue like a snake

hold the shutter down

and do not let go




we are learning how to disappear completely

into the void of ourselves




your body is like an empty frame

waiting for marriage


your soul is a portrait in blood

and invisible ink


you polish yourself like a pearl each morning

this art is subjective

you tell yourself that

Margaret Wack is a writer, poet, and classicist whose work has been published in Strange Horizons, Liminality, Twisted Moon, and others.  More can be found at
Current Issue
24 Jan 2022

Piece of my essence, accept my sorry.
Some people, right? We’ll fold you into sparrows, help you disappear—I’m so glad we found you alive
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.
Hope without action behind it is only a recipe for deeper heartache.
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 
Friday: The Tangleroot Palace Stories by Marjorie Liu 
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By: Antonio Funches
By: Lev Mirov
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Dec 2021
By: Merie Kirby
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Dec 2021
By: Freydís Moon
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Dec 2021
By: C. S. E. Cooney
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: C. S. E. Cooney
Issue 29 Nov 2021
Issue 22 Nov 2021
Issue 15 Nov 2021
By: Madeline Grigg
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Nov 2021
By: Allison Parrish
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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