Size / / /

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his slump,
haunted eyes I imagine
cannot un-see torches,
cannot un-hear screams
of “diablo!”

I want him to know
I see it.

That I notice the way
his sternum pinches
and caves,
that, sometimes,
I wonder what weapon
birthed his posture.
A .45?
A switchblade?
Some unfathomable,
archaic battery?

I imagine him healing
beneath a mossy bridge
beside a dead river,
his wings and horns
shed in favor of a ‘normalcy’
he can never truly adopt.

a fumbled smile
with too many teeth,
the way he minces
into pedestrian traffic,
his weight poured forward
as if he was never
truly designed
to stand upright.

I want him to know
I understand.

We are all monsters here.

He does not need
to stand upright
for me.

Lora Gray is a nonbinary speculative fiction writer and poet from Northeast Ohio. They have been published in F&SF, Uncanny, and Asimov’s, among other places, and their poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling Award. You can find Lora online at
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4 Dec 2023

“Ask me something only I would know.” You say this to your wife because you know you’re human. You can feel it in the familiar ache in your back, and the fear writhing in your guts. You feel it in the cold seeping into your bare feet from the kitchen floor. You know you’re real because you remember.
now, there is the shape...humanoid, but not / necessarily human
He came from a salt mine that used to be solid all the way through
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