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For Tara Cloud Clark

it is your nose i notice first—you demon, you delicacy!—
(I’m something of a collector: eldritch artifacts, all that
your nose, a right wonder for my wunderkammer)
robustly moist, grave-soil-black, with that reciprocating twitch
for every trash pile, blossom’s bravado, bottom’s innuendo
a flagrant organ in full swoon, flaunting no preference
sensitive to the rancid, ecstatic at tenderness
your nostrils flaring/folding/flaring with tidal nuance
keen to sniff each invisible stitch of meaning:
whether categorical, imaginary, or subliminally intended

secondly—you stunner, you monster!—
it is your quills I clap eyes on—fine-frilled, outstanding!
deimatic display of sensitive silver, a collar
standing at dinosaurian attention
this is not your average were-hair, my bugbear
more like what a poet plucks for her pen, never mind your quivering
good thing she’s easily distractible, all dreamy at the moon
(your foe, your sorrow)
good thing she stopped humming out your name, greedy for attention
no idea you stood ready to behead her with your scimitar paw
she might have taken her handful right there
abandoned you, bare and bleeding, to jot down a verse
what then would be left for my necklace?

I save your scarlet heart for last—you lonebeast, lunewolf!—
your ardent heart: a top-shelf item, prize of my collection
we'll preserve it in a reliquary, gold-gilt, heart-shaped
a crystal windowpane winking glimpses at incarnadined flame:
your jewel, your red gem, molten and uncertain
surely you were hunted for this, once and again
surely they came after you with knives—steel and teeth by starlight
surely you were envied and hunted, harried and coveted
till you fled, scarred, scored, starving for your pack
obscuring your bright heart, silver quills, seeking nose
in domestic drudgery, cagey silences, lest you become
one more metaphor mounted on a wall,
trod upon as carpet, secreted in a cabinet,
turned into an instrument of poetry.

C. S. E. Cooney won the World Fantasy Award for Bone Swans in 2016 and the Rhysling Award for her poem "The Sea King's Second Bride" in 2011. Her collection Dark Breakers comes out from Mythic Delirium in February 2022, and her novel Saint Death’s Daughter two months later from Solaris.
Current Issue
23 May 2022

My family and I / lived and dined / and enjoyed sunny picnics / and celebrated Christmas / with the bones inside us / silently howling
Would the rightful owners of these 17 bodies please turn up to claim them?
"When I can't move, I write, and those two things are deeply connected."
Upstairs, the prime minister is meeting with all the party members because they are worried about how to save themselves. As in, just themselves and no one else.  Because they are selfish fucks.
Let’s strive to make the best art we can, but never from the starting point of fear, but of personal honesty.
Wednesday: The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel 
Friday: To Climates Unknown: An Alternate History of a World Without America by Arturo Serrano 
Issue 16 May 2022
Issue 9 May 2022
Podcast: 9 May Poetry 
Issue 2 May 2022
By: Eric Wang
By: Sara S. Messenger
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Sara S. Messenger
Issue 18 Apr 2022
By: Blaize Kelly Strothers
By: Ken Haponek
Podcast read by: Blaize Kelly Strothers
Podcast read by: Ken Haponek
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Apr 2022
Issue 4 Apr 2022
Issue 28 Mar 2022
Issue 21 Mar 2022
By: Devin Miller
Art by: Alex Pernau
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
Issue 14 Mar 2022
Strange Horizons
Issue 7 Mar 2022
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