We found our way by braiding constellations,


using our hair to map the stars as sung by those mournful voices

carried across field winds. “Canaan,” they cried.


And though we could not know the way for certain, we hoped

    for angels

      for chariots

         for swift water

  for that fabled train


         to deliver us.


With swift fingers we whispered words to shield

weaving magic between us until we glowed—but not too bright!

so when the time came and Lady Night

had shaken her hair out to dim the Earth

we stepped to her shadows and hand in hand

into her arms

we fled


(Editors’ Note: “Spirituals” is read by Erika Ensign on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, 46B.)



Anjali Patel

Anjali is a Black and South Asian computer whisperer and speculative fiction writer. She writes to explore queerness, agency, ancestral severance, convoluted mythologies of her own devising, and the stars. She lives with a grizzled dog who offered to teach her magic in exchange for free New York City rent. Find her at or on Twitter @anjapatel.

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