Size / / /

1.

When he's born, he is spotted

with rosettes

like a leper or feral cat

and then gradually,

over the course of several days

one by one

the rosettes open, blink, and take light.

Panoptes.

2.

As a boy, he's mocked by

the other children not only for

his size, but the contagion

of eyes that afflicts him.

During games of All-Hide,

he must cover himself with

a throw or be deemed a cheat

and beaten.

Alone, given sheep to tend,

he learns to communicate

secretly with the gods

by winking in code,

each orb a bright private

world in eclipse.

He never sleeps entirely,

but in ocular shifts,

shutting down an arm or leg,

dreaming in bittersweet fragments.

3.

When he comes of age, no

woman will bed him—

for what woman wishes to have

all of her secrets rendered

or not have private moments,

however brief?

A she-thing in a cave—

the bearer and mate of monsters,

claim the tale-tellers—briefly

assents to congress

once he plies her with wine,

but recoils in disgust when she sees

the extra eye on his pedicle.

As he strangles her, it weeps dryly.

4.

The queen of heaven gives him

a heifer to guard. Later (wink, wink),

when a stranger drops by,

he's so intrigued by the man's

winged feet, he's unable to look away

en masse and thus misses

the quicksilver flash of the sword

as it descends.

Just as well: Argus has spent

so many years in the sun,

a growing occultation—a film

of milk—clouds his eyes

and while a respite from the burden

of never-ending vigilance

is not unwelcome, at heart

he remains a voyeur. At least now

he'll never experience his greatest

fear: missing by an inopportune

turn of vision or centennial blink,

a single special moment—no matter

how dull or routine it might

eventually resolve.




Robert Borski works for a consortium of elves repairing shoes in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. You can read more of his work in our archives.
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
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Issue 22 Jun 2020
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Issue 8 Jun 2020
By: Kathleen Jennings
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