Oliver Smith is inspired by Tristan Tzara, J G Ballard, and Max Ernst; by frenzied rocks towering above the silent swamp, by the strange poetry of machines; by unlikely collisions between place and myth and memory.

His poetry has been published in Abyss & Apex, Alchemy Spoon, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Strange Horizons and Sylvia Magazine and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

His prose has been included in anthologies from, among others, Flame Tree Publishing, Ex- Occidente Press, and Broken Eye Books. He has published two collections of short fiction: Basilisk Soup & Other Fantasies and Stars Beneath the Ships.

For more information see his website: 



Away she walked in fever dreams, sometimes 
so far in the starry void; a tear lost
in the Autumn rain. You call upon her name

as the years fly past, yet the times don’t change
in the missing tick of her broken clock.
Away she walked in fever dreams. Sometimes, 

she danced among the stones and ruins, framed
by a storm-light flash, and her fingers crossed.
In the Autumn rain, you call upon her name,

remembering your midnight, moonlit games
and how, in the garden, through the hemlock,
away, she walked in fever dreams; sometimes 

there’s love and loss and longing all the same.
She hid in sun, in leaf and mist and moss
in the Autumn rain. You call upon her name

from long ago, when in a halo of golden flame
she shone, and backwards stepped her feet so soft;
away she walked in fever dreams. Sometimes, 
in the Autumn rain, you call upon her name.


In an old beech tree, by the broken road, she called. 
She creaked and stretched eight scaly fingers.
Above me on tawny wings she soared.

I had heard Athena’s eyes were pitiless as razors,
sharp and brittle as flint, blue as steel blades.
But they were azure temples; a threshold I would cross.

She descended in silence from the whirlpool-stars;
from the dust scattered in the vastness of the empty sky.
So she might whistle up the thunder barefoot in the forest. 

She glittered in midsummer, perched naked on the black tor-hill.
She swallowed seven smooth pebbles green as poison;
Stitched a dress of yellow leaves and slept deeper than the stone


On the happy isle of Ithaca,
industrious Penelope
weaves a net
to snare her suitors
from an unraveled shroud
a hundred cobwebs thick.

We knew she had an idle king,
but not so much that he would lie
for so long among the dead wood:
ten years floating on the oceans.

Careful not to tug upon the alarm
the suitors approach across
the rope-bridged gulf
with gifts to lull the queen
and to feast.
But the surprise awaits
wrapped in silk: it is not
the sweet sacrificial banquet
expected by a fat fly,
but a greater spider
that sits among the rigging.

Odysseus, has returned
and leaves a hundred
fly-girls dangling on his web
with their suitors drained of sap.
He keeps company with a wife
who holds him close in eight strong arms
—safe for the moment from the call
of the wine dark sea.