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at dusk, the jigsaw puzzle of the cracked mesa
molts sulfur blue, nuclear-fissions into a Jericho
of blue roses and peacocks. the sapphire coveted
by both pyromaniac and alchemist.

the dichotomy of dark and light melts down in our bodies
and blossoms a language where nouns
replace themselves with birds.                     my mother bends like an agave blossom

under her father’s darkness. in the old corral, penny-stamped horses
strike the night with tin hooves, whipping up the moonlight
into cream.

the blood of the brothers begins to poppy the slopes
of blue mountains, tints each family photograph

with rust. I ask my mother if all language is an exile.
she combs my hair with a butterfly.

*

tonight our bodies nest like black swans in the amaryllis,
beyond the moon-mirrored adobe. your face, an antelope skull
encrusted in purple sand, horns coiling with the smoke of flies.

my mother’s hands are the songbirds that rainbow
a battered clay window. are ladles of well water
for a wildfire of foxes. for this parched language that rusts
without the antecedent of rain.

the desert melts down into hot wax, festers this banquet
of luminous abuelas and Spanish dancing shoes,
tambourine doves and carnival bears. where husbands and fathers kneel
at our laps as snowy stags. my mother, la princesa de rosas azules,

burns under a scorpion crown. she tells me one day the words will muerte themselves,
will mariposa themselves, will phoenix into terrible wings,
and weld each noun to thing. her hands, dark oleanders tipped in blood.
when she speaks, my palms burn with hot rain.



Steffi Lang is a Latina-German American originally from the US-Mexico borderlands, now living on a mountain tip in rural Appalachia among sightings of Sasquatch and ghost trains. Her writing has appeared in Haverthorn, Rust + Moth, The Apeiron Review and is upcoming in Duende and others.
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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