Nightmare Magazine





Arctic temperatures are at a record high. Next year they will be even higher, and then even higher than that. Oh, friends, we shouldn’t panic; we can’t give in to despair, not when there’s work to be done. But sometimes we need to feel it. We need to shine a light into the hole and see how far down the bottom really is.


here in the north of the world we are all starving of course
and biting each other’s tails to remind
ourselves what it feels like to eat flesh, and when our tails
are bitten we let out the most powerful
and soul-rending shrieks to remind ourselves what it sounds
like to give pain. our gills suck down
waters warm as old stomach acid and the seals won’t pup
and the fish are dead and it’s just us
braiding each other’s hair and deciding who will be the first
to be torn apart and devoured, although
we don’t discuss that part out loud and instead hold it deep
in our salt hearts, the only things around
still frozen.

Maria Zoccola

Maria Zoccola is a queer Southern writer with deep roots in the Mississippi Delta. She has writing degrees from Emory University and Falmouth University. Her speculative poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine, Strange Horizons, Abyss & Apex, and elsewhere. Her literary poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, 32 Poems, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. Learn more about Maria’s writing at