From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism


Some worlds never touch except at this hour.

The sun has set and turned her back, weeping

for a cave where she could be safe once more.

All the hair on our necks rose stiff, like pig bristles.

Our heads capped, ringed with cold – some winds should never mix,

some winds will never mix. The fishermen said their mouths

tasted blood; the women on land said their mouths tasted of fish,

fish too old to eat, fish no one would dare eat.


The very air shimmers because it knows it’s not supposed to, now.


Mountain spring witches will comb their long black hair

in this wind, and smile in recognition of the time.

Graves struggle to hold their people back, so eager they are

to touch the living.  The forest is empty but

we hear the sounds of chopping. The children

thought lost in the forest, return changed

and we do not trust them.

Betsy Aoki

Betsy Aoki

Elizabeth (Betsy) Aoki is a poet, short story writer and game producer. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, and Asimov’s Magazine of Science Fiction, and is anthologized in Climbing Lightly Through Forests (Ursula K. Le Guin tribute poetry anthology). Her first poetry collection, Breakpoint, is a 2019 National Poetry Series Finalist and received the Patricia Bibby First Book Award. Breakpoint is forthcoming from Tebot Bach in 2022. You can find her tweeting at @baoki or contact her via her website at