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in the dry Junes of Karachi I don a white cotton shalwar
kameez (a moonlighter), so become my afternoon &
my night & douse this blackness in viscous castor oil which
mama’ll vigorously knead—the stickiness against a white
skull with fingers made stiff from years of rheumatoid arthritis.
Is this the inexplicable south asian love? because in the
West I only want the scent of mamas janemaaz ka dupatta &
I’m sorry for frantically clinging to Pakistan wherever i
go making it hard for your homes to welcome me & for you
foreign lovers to embrace me & I’m sorry that I can’t
help friending you on Facebook just to show how great my
life’s gotten since high school & not just the published
poems & the articles & the acting but the little things. like when
Asiya’ll welcome my return, thousand lines criss-crossing
tanned skin & I’m 11 years old again. how is it that people who’ve
had husbands murdered by village mobs can find happiness
in life whereas I, who’ve lived a near painless life cannot? but at least
my evenings are marked with daddy’s Jimmy Choo’s cologne
and brylcreem which you smell before seeing him & everyone knows
that I’ll do anything to impress my dad like even burning myself
out to the point of depression, so that’s why Allah beckons me to the
prayer mat & I’m sorry for inconveniencing you white peeps but
just know, not all Muslims are terrorists & do you even really know Islam
and the great solace it gives us. I know my mom would want me to
pray. this is the fifth time she’s pinged me—empty nest syndrome has hit
hard but darling, any second now you’ll get a semblance of home,
so don’t hurt yourself just yet.



Neha Maqsood is a Pakistani journalist whose writing on race, religion, and global feminism has been published in Metro UK, Express Tribune, Foreign Policy, Women Under Siege, and other places. Her poetry, too, has been featured or is forthcoming in over twenty literary journals and magazines, including Gutter Magazine, Marble Poetry, Abridged, and more. In 2019, she was the recipient of the Black Bough Readers Award for Poetry. Her poetry chapbook, Vulnerability, is scheduled for publication by Hellebore Press in 2021. You can follow her on Twitter @maqsood_neha.
Current Issue
28 Sep 2020

disaster arrived; it is a promise
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Maggie Damken's “Undiscovered Hells,” with a designed sound environment.
Although the science fiction community has engaged in a significant, concerted, and necessary effort to correct for many of Campbell’s prejudices surrounding race and gender, there has yet to be a similar corrective effort on matters concerning class and labour.
The unofficial theme for this Short Fiction Treasures column is “arts, crafts, and work.” Whether the art, craft, or work is the main theme of the story, or whether it’s there as background and setting, it can add a level of immersion and satisfying texture to speculative fiction that I find irresistible.
Issue 21 Sep 2020
By: Aqdas Aftab
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: David Clink
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Sep 2020
By: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Blackford
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Sep 2020
By: Catherynne M. Valente
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Bethany Powell
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bethany Powell
Issue 31 Aug 2020
By: R.B. Lemberg
By: Julia Rios
By: Sonya Taaffe
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: R.B. Lemberg
Podcast read by: Julia Rios
Podcast read by: Sonya Taaffe
Issue 24 Aug 2020
By: Leslie J. Anderson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Leslie J. Anderson
Issue 17 Aug 2020
By: Emma Törzs
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liz Adair
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Aug 2020
By: Anya Johanna DeNiro
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Laura Cranehill
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 3 Aug 2020
By: Christine Lucas
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!
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