Size / / /

A bee once stung my mouth, you see.
I learned to tread the water's edge,
ream oranges, and sunny dawns drown
honeycombs in pools of salt and lye.

They'll say I never was a steady gal,
but long before you came again
I'd started drawing maps, each route
where X was the rag-tatted lace I would place

near my carpenter's warm human heart.
They'll say I was sea-drunk, skirts netting
old cod; these bowed hips (they'll say)
could do nothing but buy. Cheap as sand dollars,

faithless as women can be,
when the sea spit you back
I raced out of my carpenter's pine-hearted arms
with a ring finger tattooed salt white.

Six ships carried you on the salt
salt sea, and one moored on land
to ferry me. Gold-heavy they bobbed,
ruby-laden they swayed all your hulls

to point east Friday morn.
They've told it before and they'll tell
it again: how I loved you like stars
on a scale. What they miss so do I:

my carpenter's lathe-riddled hands,
birch-white band last I tucked
in his pence-empty seams. The truth
of the matter is I always knew you:

gravestone heels, flash of teeth,
viper tongue. Lye won't scratch.
But bees return, too, and I knew
how to do it. My hands were as clumsy as mice.

They'll say hollow and mean it, but how
could they see just how sweet I can spin?
It was ten holes I made that day: him, you, and me.
How those bows tackled under like ice.

We see land but the orchid-teeth sand's
not for us. Seven ships I set skimming
across the salt sea; let your sins be kissed
breathless by water. I win.




Pamela Manasco is a writer, editor, and poet living in the Birmingham, Alabama area.
Current Issue
10 Feb 2020

This house was too small for six people, woefully so, but it’s too big for one; the empty rooms fill up with spirits.
By: Shannon Sanders
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Shannon Sanders's “Company.”
Please follow the instructions for reading this poem: 1. Imagine a cage. Any cage, of any size. 2. Love the cage. The cage is your friend.
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Gabriel Ascencio Morales's “Abstraction,” with a designed sound environment.
Issue 3 Feb 2020
By: Ada Hoffmann
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: S.R. Tombran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Jan 2020
By: Julianna Baggott
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Terese Mason Pierre
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Terese Mason Pierre
Issue 6 Jan 2020
By: Mitchell Shanklin
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Nikoline Kaiser
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 23 Dec 2019
By: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Maya Chhabra
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Dec 2019
By: Osahon Ize-Iyamu
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liu Chengyu
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Dec 2019
By: SL Harris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessy Randall
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Dec 2019
By: Sheldon Costa
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mari Ness
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 25 Nov 2019
By: Nisa Malli
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nisa Malli
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