Size / / /

Content warning:


when she speaks there are phrases missing
words strung up in incoherent pieces
memories juggling between myth and history

i once
was
a song.

her tongue tied, strangled consonants
whistled through the gap in her teeth
the clipped pages of a diary at her feet

my
dear
forgive me
we are lost.

her language is said to be imaginary
its lexicon like black and white photographs
imagined of spurious subjects

the wind
our wings
carried away.

no vowels to oil the sounds
she sputters constrained
her throat vibrating a cacophony

these lips
are
meant for verse.

then sing, I told her, sing
lay your letters along a lyre
confess your hymns in lyrics

aaaaaEEEjoooooolaiiiii

maaaaaaameeeYaaaaEEEeeee.

oh, but when she sings,

when
she
sings

i hear: take me, take me to the space between our breaths

oh, but how her eyes are closed so tightly,

the
tears
trembling

ruuuuuOOOOuuuuuuuaaaaAAuuuuuu
yeeeeeekAlallEEeeeeeeooooooyyy

i feel: i will be found, i will be free, i will rejoin

oh, but how her body sways,

her
arms
open, forgiving

i see: the orange typhoon of days, the blue-green of a winged peoples

oh, but the lilt in her voice

how
it
takes me away

xaaaaaaaaaaaAAAaaaaaooooyyyyy
YaaaaaaNayyEEeeeeeooooo

i am: the space in between breath, the sound of the hollow

i am…
free
so free
when she sings…



Zora Mai Quỳnh is a genderqueer Vietnamese writer whose short stories and essays can be found in The SEA Is Ours, Genius Loci: The Spirit of PlacePOC Destroy Science Fiction, and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. This is her debut at Strange Horizons. Visit her: zmquynh.com. You may contact her at zmquynh.lyrics@gmail.com.
Current Issue
10 Jan 2022

Angela says if I want to film the rituals, I cannot do so as an outsider or a guest. The rituals are private, she says, and a secret. That is the problem, I say, I want to film them because they are a secret.
Before she knew it, she was falling out of the sky like a waterfall and through a canopy of thick, wet leaves. Fell hard into the soil.
There is a djinn for everything: every act of forgetting, every act of remembering. Every act of oppression, every act of protest. Every act of civil resistance, every arrest, every injury, every death. There is a selfish djinn, and a selfless djinn. There is a djinn for beauty, a djinn for zakhm, a djinn for kindness, a djinn for empathy. A djinn for absence, a djinn for inaction; a djinn for climate, a djinn for crisis, a djinn for war, a djinn for peace. What are words but
Issue 3 Jan 2022
Strange Horizons
By: Antonio Funches
By: Lev Mirov
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Dec 2021
By: Merie Kirby
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 13 Dec 2021
By: Freydís Moon
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Dec 2021
By: C. S. E. Cooney
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: C. S. E. Cooney
Issue 29 Nov 2021
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
Load More
%d bloggers like this: