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Red cheeked
the breeze tickles her back
soft as a careless whisper.
Her mouth is caramelised fig and salt tang
and she wears seaweed in her hair.
From the shore the waves roar, weaponised teal, flashing bright
and the sky is purple haze
(as speckled as her nails, buried in the sand
fingertips deep in the cool moistness of the earth.)
She communes with the crabs, albino and soft shelled
as they scuttle into sand-tubes
and hide amongst the spinifex.
As the tide recedes she pries out pippis and splits them
sucking out juices with her scaled tongue
and hurling their smoked shells back into the sea.

And she waits.

The pregnant moon rises soft
and the world is still
for three heartbeats (one two)
(three). Then
her lover comes (ethereal as a spirit)
and the waters roil, waves gouging.
When her lover comes (dusk bathed, storm-woman)
the crabs flee deep into the dunes and
as finally
she steps silent from the sky onto sand
she licks the salt from the hollow of her throat
smiles through red lips
and kisses the sparrows in her hair.

Hester J. Rook is a Rhysling Award and Australian Shadows Award shortlisted poet and co-editor of Twisted Moon Magazine.  They are often found salt-scrunched on beaches, reading arcane tales and losing the moon in mugs of tea. Find Hester on Twitter @hesterjrook and read more poems and fiction at
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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