Size / / /

Content warning:

ridges of triangular teeth
press a tiny ring against your fingertip from within,
like spokes of a crown straining under your skin
morays have teeth made for rending / and
swordfish can grow to twice your height, you know

the ocean sprawls across the earth like a fallen giant / body cooling / limbs lax
when you submerged off the coral reef, do you remember your wonder?
the lush, rippling fauna stretched below you
striations of navigable sea currents, those arteries for miles
minuscule, floating there, bitten fingers swishing past tense thighs
                you’d thought, if only i could be as grand
or as alluring as the deep chambers below, their aortas, atriums, hidden nests
as powerful as the drag of the water-body around you / the heave of this ecosystem


i glide in pressure
i swim in sound


we, we, we
your brain stem roots a towering flourish of coral reef
so beautiful! / i am small i can
rest against its crevices
lap nutrients, catch substrate from your bloodstream
pluck apart capillaries to weave my cradle
my tail has leagues to twirl / i sleep nestled on a tender bed of cilia
i wake, swim crimson dark to my favorite place
your fingernail stretches overhead, warm skylight of petal sun
your voice a low rumble / i recline
                distal phalange humming against my cheek
iron & salt & the reverberation of your breaths
my eyes lull. i curl my hands to my warmed chest
                so much left to explore
but i want you to know i rest here, so
i press my concentric teeth to the soft wall beside me
                my home
and push

Sara S. Messenger is an SFF writer and poet residing in Florida. When she’s not playing fetch with her cat, she reads poetry collections in the sun. Her short fiction has appeared in Fantasy Magazine and Diabolical Plots, and her poetry has been previously published in Strange Horizons. If you enjoyed this work, her full portfolio and other musings can be found online at
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26 Feb 2024

I can’t say any of this to the man next to me because he is wearing a tie
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
verb 4 [C] to constantly be at war, spill your blood and drink. to faint and revive yourself. to brag of your scars.
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