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CONTENT WARNING:



The day of your surgery, you disappeared.
I called the doctor, but it rang and rang.
The machine announced a pyramid scheme for
new life and new identities, an herbal supplement in exchange
for memories. So I searched the woods where we shot cans
with guns as kids, thinking we were practicing for
becoming superheroes, rather than practicing secret identities
and desires. The river was empty. The trees
purged of leaves. Only the clubhouse remained—
where your body was folded back into
an ouroboros of your former gendered life.

An X-ray image reveals two broken arms,
fractured vertebrae, near septic shock,
and heavy metal poisonings from your youthful tattoos.
New doctors follow in a procession of diagnoses,
which sound more like hexes and curses than cures.
All of this is too heavy in my mouth. My throat feels
coated with diamonds and quartz cut in queer shapes,
as if my insides have become a geode, and I have been
cracked open in the process of scientific discovery.
I shine under fluorescent lights. Was I always beautiful inside?
Or has too much sonic pressure
from gender made me so?

When we were young, I tried to make
my skin beautiful through needles and ink while
you tried to pull your sex out
through your root chakra to exchange one myth
for another. All it did was impress con-men doctors
invested in overnight success stories
and the pills and pulp memoirs that made it so.
All of this becoming between us has become
dizzying, and more doctors are slipping me
pills for sea-sickness and vertigo, as if
all other promises of health were not
laid bare next to scalpels on metal tables
and conjured without anesthesia or antibiotics.
I am starting to doubt storytelling from surgeons.

So I send the case studies away. Wellness and disease
will not enter here. I hold your cold hand
and wish that time's arrow could pierce us backwards,
give you back the desperation that made you run
to the therapist-magician who claimed she could make
your dysphoria disappear with a single white tablecloth
against a white letterhead and embossed MD stamps.
Instead, I chant the name you picked out for your secret-self,
the one that always landed a bull's eye, even blindfolded
and spun around. Like Lazarus, you breathe with a touch
from someone who knows what it's like to hold back
holiness and sin. You rise from the near-dead hospital bed—
and demand a body that is home.

A day later, the overnight magic's almost gone.
Your third eye is open and we follow the symbols;
I understand even more that
we both phosphoresce, broken
yet beautiful under light.
We are both fire archers, aiming
a red thread in another trajectory.
We are both monsters, neglected and ignored
as well as diseased and destroyed.
But we can stitch what we've left off
and find our way out of Frankenstein’s room.
We can convalesce with new names,
and molt into better skins.
Without doctors or witches, con-men, or categories
that claim to be home,
we glow.



Eve Morton is a writer living in Ontario, Canada. She teaches university and college classes on media studies, academic writing, and genre literature, among other topics. She likes forensic science through the simplified lens of TV, and philosophy through the cinematic lens of Richard Linklator. Find more information on authormorton.wordpress.com.
Current Issue
27 Jul 2020

Stefan škrtl další sirkou a zapálil jednu ze svíček, které s sebou přinesl, pak další a další, dokud je neobklopoval celý kruh. Hanna nakrčila nos. Svíčky vydávaly zvláštní zápach, ale ne nepříjemný. Připomínal čerstvě posečenou trávu. I jejich tmavě olivová barva byla nezvyklá.
半透明の大江さんが洗面所から出てきて、いつもと同じようにテーブルに向かう。見えない食パンにバターを塗り、見えない新聞を片手に頰張る。まるでパントマイムだ。私はフローリングの床に座り込み、一連の動作を眺めた。
By: Amel Moussa
Translated by: Hager Ben Driss
Many things in my kitchen resemble me; I relate to them; we entertain one another. Water, fire, and electricity vegetables, water rich fruits, and dry fruits
أشياء ٌكثيرةٌ في مطبخي تُشبهني أتماهى مع هذه الأشياء ونُؤنسُ بعضنا.
He ignored her remark, ignited another match and lit a small candle. Then another one. He continued until a circle of candles surrounded them on the stage. Hanna scrunched her nose. The candles exuded a strange smell, but not an unpleasant one. It resembled freshly mown grass. The color was unusual too, a deep olive-green.
By: Eisuke Aikawa
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
The translucent Ōe-san steps out of the bathroom and sits at the table as usual. He spreads butter on an invisible slice of bread, takes a bite, and chews it, holding the morning paper in his other hand. Just like a mime. I sit on the floor and observe his movements.
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
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
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
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Keaton Bennett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Jun 2020
By: Sheree Renée Thomas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
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