Size / / /

She cannot wear silk—

Too much static electricity.

She cannot wear jewels—

He is jealous of the metal,

Lest it outshine his sleek

And gleaming self.

Instead she wears

Cotton clothes and canvas

Slippers with rubber-crepe soles.

At night, she oils his rod,

His reel, his gears, his engine,

Her little fist sliding over the pistons,

Glistening in the treble moonlight.

She wishes again that she had been

Given to a man, sent to service

Flesh instead of steel, who

Would have a heart that might

In time warm to a woman—

Not a coldly clicking thing

Showing through a glass pane

In a riveted chest.

Some nights, after he leaves,

She sits on the windowsill

Staring into the night,

Towards the market

Where alien merchants sell silk,

And even, in winter,

Wool.




Elizabeth Barrette writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in the fields of speculative fiction, gender studies, and alternative spirituality. She serves as Dean of Studies for the Grey School of Wizardry. She hosts a monthly Poetry Fishbowl on her blog. She enjoys suspension-of-disbelief bungee jumping and spelunking in other people's reality tunnels. You can email Elizabeth at ysabet@worthlink.net, and see more of Elizabeth's work in the books Companion for the Apprentice Wizard and Composing Magic, and in our archives.
Current Issue
10 Aug 2020

Let me tell you how I first met Seax-of-Peony, Empress of the Known Moons.
By: Anya Johanna DeNiro
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Anya Johanna DeNiro's “A Voyage to Queensthroat.”
When your people came down from the stars / we put you in jails and cellars and basements
By: Laura Cranehill
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Laura Cranehill's “We Let You Live.”
Wednesday: The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North 
Issue 3 Aug 2020
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Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Issue 20 Jul 2020
By: Ranylt Richildis
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: JD Fox
By: JD Fox
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: JD Fox
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for our Mexico Special issue, which will be published at the end of November 2020!
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons lanza su convocatoria en busca textos narrativos para su Especial de México, que se publicará a finales de noviembre de 2020!
Issue 13 Jul 2020
By: Alex Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Kimberly Kaufman
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Jul 2020
By: Stephen O'Donnell
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Thomas White
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Jun 2020
By: Carlie St. George
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Janelle C. Shane
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Issue 22 Jun 2020
By: Neha Maqsood
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Neha Maqsood
Issue 15 Jun 2020
By: Remy Reed Pincumbe
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Preston Grassmann
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Jun 2020
By: Kathleen Jennings
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By: Keaton Bennett
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