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Let’s say you meet in ancient India,
in a dry, moondrunk field—just you
and pakicetus, a kind of rutty wiener-dog
from 50,000,000 years ago and yes,
you speak the same language.

You start by telling him about the sea,
how his descendants will become
aquatic zeppelins with five-foot hearts
who can swim beneath icebergs
and compose choruses of such beauty

that another species will listen
and use them to fall asleep.
How they will live out their whole
whale-lives in the absence of ground,
their fat angelic bellies floating

over the world’s greatest cemetery.
But pakicetus barely listens, his snout
resting between his paws, gazing
at the horizon: the breeze-bent grass,
stillness that stretches on forever.

Michael Meyerhofer is the author of a fantasy series and several books of poetry. His work has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Analog, Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and other journals. For more info and an embarrassing childhood photo, visit
Current Issue
25 Sep 2023

People who live in glass houses are surrounded by dirt birds
After a century, the first colony / of bluebirds flew out of my mouth.
Over and over the virulent water / beat my flame down to ash
In this episode of  Critical Friends , the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Aisha and Dan talk to critic and poet Catherine Rockwood about how reviewing and criticism feed into creative practice. Also, pirates.
Writing authentic stories may require you to make the same sacrifice. This is not a question of whether or not you are ready to write indigenous literature, but whether you are willing to do so. Whatever your decision, continue to be kind to indigenous writers. Do not ask us why we are not famous or complain about why we are not getting support for our work. There can only be one answer to that: people are too busy to care. At least you care, and that should be enough to keep my culture alive.
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