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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.



Evelyn Deshane’s creative and nonfiction work has appeared in Plenitude Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, The Atlantic, Lackington’s, and Bitch Magazine, among other publications. Evelyn (pron. Eve-a-lyn) received an MA from Trent University and is currently completing a PhD at the University of Waterloo. Evelyn’s most recent project #Trans is an edited collection about transgender and nonbinary identity online. Visit evedeshane.wordpress.com for more info.
Current Issue
9 Dec 2019

“Full ahead, Mister Sal,” says Moore. I grit my teeth and force the Anastasis forward. The engines, the strongest of any ship I’ve ever steered, screech and whine like dying things. The nightgaunts are ten deep around us and it’s like flying through tar.
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Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents SL Harris's “Into the Eye.”
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In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Jessy Randall's “Mary Agnes Chase (1869-1963).”
Wednesday: Sharp and Sugar Tooth edited by Octavia Cade 
Friday: David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa 
Issue 2 Dec 2019
By: Sheldon Costa
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By: Mari Ness
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Issue 25 Nov 2019
By: Nisa Malli
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Podcast read by: Nisa Malli
Issue 18 Nov 2019
By: Marika Bailey
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alicia Cole
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Issue 11 Nov 2019
By: Rivqa Rafael
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mary McMyne
By: Ugonna-Ora Owoh
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Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 28 Oct 2019
By: Kelly Stewart
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kelly Stewart
Monday: Aniara 
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Issue 21 Oct 2019
By: Omar William Sow
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Amy H. Robinson
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Issue 14 Oct 2019
By: Kevin Wabaunsee
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ruben Reyes Jr.
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Issue 7 Oct 2019
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Issue 30 Sep 2019
By: Kali de los Santos
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Monday: 3% 
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Issue 23 Sep 2019
By: August Huerta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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