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Ghosts almost never harangue their killers. It's those who can actually feel guilt and shame who draw a ghost from hiding, regardless of whether they had anything to do with the death that spawned the haunting.
—Aaron Friedrich, These Bloody Filaments


alley behind our house

car parked against the fence, a beat up four-door compact
dead teen folded on the tiny back seat

all his blood emigrated through the new doors
moved out into the upholstery

cop had a laugh, said the boy came up short
owed someone meaner, had to pay exact change
no pennies left for his eyes

sure we didn't hear nothing?
struggle must've gone on for a while
he could've called for help

guy at our church owns a jewelry store
he grins around his reading glasses
they catch the one who did it, that's two thugs gone, he says

they towed that car off weeks ago
but the boy, he doesn't know

we've seen him draped on our chain-link gate
like he tried to climb over and couldn't make it
flimsy as the paper that shared his death
in four short paragraphs

no moon, nothing's waving
when we peek through the blinds
just a piece of trash tortured by the wind
so it looks like a face




Mike Allen is president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and editor of the speculative poetry journal Mythic Delirium. With Roger Dutcher, Mike is also editor of The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, which for the first time collects the Rhysling Award-winning poems from 1978 to 2004 in one volume. His newest poetry collection, Disturbing Muses, is out from Prime Books, with a second collection, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead, soon to follow. Mike's poems can also be found in Nebula Awards Showcase 2005, both editions of The 2005 Rhysling Anthology, and the Strange Horizons archives.
Current Issue
23 Nov 2020

Everybody thinks at first that time has somehow been reversed.
By: Michael Bazzett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Michael Bazzett
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Michael Bazzett's “The Revisionist,” with a reading by the poet.
Gollum suffers from the stigma that all users who don’t have the luxury and wealth to maintain social appearances do.
And I feel like there are just so many layers to Popsicle Pete.
Our fantasy and science fiction structure exists in a system that tries to convince its inhabitants that the world is binary, that everything is the group that is Us, and everything else, which is Them.
Issue 16 Nov 2020
By: Cat Aquino
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Michael Chang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Nov 2020
By: Miyuki Jane Pinckard
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 2 Nov 2020
By: Allison Mulvihill
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ali Trotta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 19 Oct 2020
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Aber O. Grand
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 12 Oct 2020
By: Elisabeth R. Moore
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Jean
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 5 Oct 2020
By: J.L. Akagi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Lesley Wheeler
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Lesley Wheeler
Issue 28 Sep 2020
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 21 Sep 2020
By: Aqdas Aftab
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: David Clink
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Sep 2020
By: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Blackford
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Sep 2020
By: Catherynne M. Valente
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Bethany Powell
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bethany Powell
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