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Feather light,
arcing taupe bird in distress,
red-tailed like autumn's first blaze.

I circle down to the well
to meet you with slate eyes and coal brows,
yellow irises zooming into
your ultra violet and neon yellow auras.

I cry a shrill warning, black ice
from the Otherworld with perspective.
I breathe smoke from your burnished fire,
and hone in on your retreat.

Touching down as a girl,
my face angles against a pewter sky,
it blends into the viridian stone,
a shimmering, translucent portal
between the now and then.

At the well, I drew in your love,
At the well, I transformed.

I turn my sharp, sinewy shape
into a shroud of spotted feathers,
a cloak in which to enclose your warm heart,
gold sparks flying in the black.
Maybe I would rip the muscle out,
maybe I could want more than flesh now.

I lean over your green helmet,
ask you to kiss me,
brush a talon finger on your face to break skin,
your look at once mesmerized and appalled.

You could have been my warrior then,
mine own to control,
but you misunderstood my surrender,
and instead drew your sword to match me.

They say a singular moment
can span a lifetime of love,
and this moment of battle was ours.

Predatory, neither bird nor woman,
the feathers molt from my shoulders
to reveal red skin, red hair,
raptor turns to rapture.

In the crevices of your mind,
you knew that you would be my only,
that I would be the mother
of the offspring you would kill,
the grey-veiled emissary at your deathbed.

Yet only I had drunk the well water
and only I would incarnate and soar,
fly and illuminate new moon nights
to absolve you of the pain that is to come,
live your legend and reflect on your love,
until the time circles back.

Kavitha Rath has lived in Atlanta, Chennai, and London. Her poetry has appeared in Danse Macabre, Fickle Muses, and New Asian Writing. You can find her at
Current Issue
29 Nov 2021

It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that our donor's choice special issue for 2021 is titled—simply—Friendship.
The year before this, the girls at school had called her Little Lila .
Pictures of me that day are kept in the ship’s files, sent back to Earth to be used in my captors’ eventual war crimes tribunals.
Perhaps a new urban system of star navigation is needed
This world, covered in spectral ebullience, was tied together by bows of light
Are you a good witch / or a bad witch? / as if there’s an answer earned, inscribed in bubbles reflecting an inverse crown.
When does the pursuit of pure thought, pure idealism, pure escapism become detrimental?
Wednesday: The Best of World SF, Volume 1, edited by Lavie Tidhar 
Friday: Anti-Life by Vee Tat Lam 
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
Issue 1 Nov 2021
By: Liam Corley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Liam Corley
Issue 25 Oct 2021
Strange Horizons
Issue 18 Oct 2021
By: K. Ceres Wright
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Oct 2021
By: Lisabelle Tay
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 4 Oct 2021
By: Anthony Okpunor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Oct 2021
Podcast: Fund Drive 2021 Poetry 
By: Michael Meyerhofer
By: Wale Ayinla
Podcast read by: Michael Meyerhofer
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
29 Sep 2021
Opening to fiction submissions for the month of November!
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