Size / / /

The woman in the back of Fritzel's
keeps a scalpel in her purse.

She dips a finger in her gin,
pushes the lemon to the bottom.

She's sat through four bands
on open-mike night, four versions

of "Piece of My Heart." She's waiting
for a traveler, someone with a suitcase

and a charge card to settle
her long bar tab and take her

back to his room. One man
woke in his bath packed in ice like a fish,

a telephone and a note near his hand,
'Call the hospital or you will die.'

He went to the mirror,
found two long slits like gills

on his back. He thought of his last
Bloody Mary, the strange woman

who pulled the covers over him
like a net. Afterwards, her body

curled and hard, a baited hook.
Tomorrow, he will learn

that even kidneys are bought and traded,
that you could live with just one.

If he sleeps, he will dream of water,
of moving through treacherous seas

and arriving almost intact.


Copyright © 2002 Jamie Wasserman

Reader Comments

Jamie Wasserman's poetry and fiction have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Weber Studies, Flesh and Blood, Vampire's Dan Story Emporium, Magma, Clay Palm Review, frisson, and dozens of others. His poem "Why I Believe in Ghosts" received an honorable mention from the 2002 Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthology. For more about him, visit his website.

Bio to come.
Current Issue
13 May 2024

This variation on the elixir of life pairs the flavour of roasted roc with the medicinal potency of the philosopher’s stone. But buyer beware: this dish isn’t for everyone.
mourn and lament while mixing, then cut down a tree
At the end of every tunnel, there was an epithelium of silence that deluged the larynx.
Issue 6 May 2024
Issue 29 Apr 2024
Issue 15 Apr 2024
By: Ana Hurtado
Art by: delila
Issue 8 Apr 2024
Issue 1 Apr 2024
Issue 25 Mar 2024
By: Sammy Lê
Art by: Kim Hu
Issue 18 Mar 2024
Strange Horizons
Issue 11 Mar 2024
Issue 4 Mar 2024
Issue 26 Feb 2024
Load More