Fantasy magazine

From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism


You start to hear me
Or rather
A tapping in the walls,
Down the halls
Never able to pinpoint the spot . . .
Tap, tap-tap . . .
I love you
I’ll never leave you alone.

You think you start to see me
In the corners of your vision
A thing whose presence you feel
Along your back
Going up your spine
You think I’m watching what you’re reading
Over your shoulder;
I am.
I love you
I’ll never leave you alone.

You hear the rapping
The tapping
Tap, tap-tap . . .
Coming closer
Rap, tap-tap . . .
You hear it in the corners of your mind
When you sleep
Tap, tap-tap . . .
Let me in
I love you
I’ll never leave you alone.

Slowly, surely,
You change
You argue more with loved ones,
Pick fights with strangers,
Act out on vendettas.
You suspect
I may not be what I say I am
But I will always tell you
I love you
I’ll never leave you alone.

You start to lose time
Minutes, hours . . .
Days . . .
You’re accused of things
You don’t ever recall doing
Why is that body there
Bent in that peculiar way
Hush my dear
This is what happens
When you let me in
I love you
And I’ll never leave you alone.

You think you need help
And start seeking out
Help from books, psychics . . .
Priests . . .
But soon you realize
That you can’t tell them
What you really want to say
Because I can always change
What comes out
Because I know best, my dear
What do they know, anyway
I love you
And I’ll never leave you alone

You want this
You know this is the best thing
That’s ever happened to you
Because deep down in your heart,
Where your unspoken words
Keep you company
Like a blanket
Where I made a space for you
To stay,
While I take control
More and more . . .
You know you love it
Because I love you
And I’ll never leave you alone

You can never go back
To your old life
Even if I abandoned you
Too many people are gone
Too many things are done
Too many things have changed . . .
I hold the reins
I let you see things from time to time
Otherwise you’re nestled
Deep within
Caught in my embrace . . .
You’re beautiful, I tell you.
I still love you as much as I ever did . . .
I still want us to be friends.
I’ll never leave you.
I love you.
I’ll never leave you alone.

Tonya Liburd

Tonya Liburd. An illustration of a black woman with glasses, with a conure on her head, and two cockatiels, one yellow, the other grey and white, on her shoulder.

Tonya Liburd shares a birthday with Simeon Daniel and Ray Bradbury, which may tell you a little something about her. She is a 2017 and 2018 Rhysling nominee, and has been longlisted in the 2015 Carter V. Cooper (Vanderbilt)/Exile Short Fiction Competition. Her fiction is used in Nisi Shawl’s workshops, and in Tananarive Due’s black horror course at UCLA (the latter of which featured Jordan Peele as a guest lecturer!) as examples of “code switching.” She is also Editor over at The Expanse Magazine. You can find her blogging at or on Twitter at @somesillywowzer, or you can join her Patreon at