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
Current Issue
27 Mar 2023

close calls when / I’m with Thee / dressed to the nines
they took to their heels but the bird was faster.
In this episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Reviews Editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland talk to novelist, reviewer, and Strange Horizons’ Co-ordinating Editor, Gautam Bhatia, about how reviewing and criticism of all kinds align—and do not—with fiction-writing and the genre more widely.
If the future is here, but unevenly distributed, then so is the past.
He claims that Redlow used to be a swamp and he has now brought them into the future before the future. Yes he said that.
My previous Short Fiction Treasures column was all about science fiction, so it’s only fair that the theme this time around is fantasy.
I’ve come to think of trans-inclusive worldbuilding as an activist project in itself, or at least analogous to the work of activists. When we imagine other worlds, we have to observe what rules we are creating to govern the characters, institutions, and internal logic in our stories. This means looking at gender from the top down, as a regulatory system, and from the bottom up, at the people on the margins whose bodies and lives stand in some kind of inherent opposition to the system itself.
Issue 20 Mar 2023
Issue 13 Mar 2023
Issue 6 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Feb 2023
Issue 13 Feb 2023
Issue 6 Feb 2023
Issue 30 Jan 2023
By: Catherine Rockwood
By: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Catherine Rockwood
Podcast read by: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Maureen Kincaid Speller
Issue 23 Jan 2023
Issue 16 Jan 2023
Issue 9 Jan 2023
Load More
%d bloggers like this: