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Once, you handed me half a heart,
a pretty keepsake, as if love
could be contained in glass,
displayed as truth,
a weapon, a warning,
a silver bullet against
every demon
you fashioned in the dark—
but you cornered the wrong monster.

You offered honey
but arrived with too much grief,
a gift of quicksand kisses,
a ruin of howling
between every word,
the ghost of love
conjured as fruit, ripe
as belladonna,
too much and the sleep
is endless—
but a witch always knows.

You think this story is yours,
but it isn’t; you haven’t escaped
the labyrinth, this stone river
knows what you have done,
what you stole, what you broke,
what you burned to ash—
there is no mercy here,
only haunting,
a cadre of shame
brandishing knives—
and you abandoned
the wrong Fate.

Now, you wake
godless, soul-hollow,
your chest vacant
and clockless,
ribs perfectly arranged
around the emptiness,
this cathedral of lies,
this once-holy space,
ringing with a dark hymn
only the damned will ever hear—
look down,
you are standing in your own grave.

Ali Trotta is a poet, editor, dreamer, word-nerd, and unapologetic coffee addict. Her poetry has appeared in UncannyFireside Fiction, and Cicada magazines, as well as in The Best of Uncanny Magazine (Subterranean Press). She has a poem forthcoming in F&SF magazine. Ali’s always scribbling on napkins, looking for magic in the world, and bursting into song. Follow her on Twitter (@alwayscoffee) or visit her blog ( Three of her poems were Rhysling Award nominees.
Current Issue
3 Oct 2022

Lying in bed last night I felt fingers reach in, grabbing. I opened in spite of myself as you clawed me with your fingernails, flattened, panicked. Split throat, iron tongue, white masks ranged overhead, the rings on their fingers scraping me as they reached in to take you.
from my tower we climb, shroud as my veil. We leap on his fae steed
I tell smug Cyclops that I’m as gay as the next mutant, and that all mutants find themselves within battles
Get ready to feel hungry, because the theme for this quarterly roundup is food.
Wednesday: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo 
Wednesday: Where You Linger & Other Stories by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam 
Issue 26 Sep 2022
Issue 21 Sep 2022
Issue 12 Sep 2022
Issue 5 Sep 2022
Issue 29 Aug 2022
By: Cat T.
Issue 22 Aug 2022
Issue 15 Aug 2022
Issue 8 Aug 2022
Issue 1 Aug 2022
Issue 18 Jul 2022
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