Size / / /

Leonid hears the knock on the door,

Puts the final touches on the potato salad.

It's Antropov, bearing a casserole,

He beams and shakes a sun-warm hand:

Mikhailovich, it's good to see you.

It's funny how quickly habits can be learned

He thinks, as the coats swell up in the closet.

Hundreds of slim, luminescent gentlemen

All talking about the weather.

Markov is holding court by the punchbowl:

He chose to go into politics.

The papers called his rise meteoric,

And everyone had a good laugh.

It's a pleasant, star-bright afternoon:

Generations mingle and whisper in tongues.

Leonid is a good host, a busy host.

He has no time to feel alone.

No time to think: wife, mother, aunt, family

Child.

When the crowds of relatives take flight again

He washes the dishes and sits on the porch

Binoculars in hand, staring at the sky.

Beams of light, sparks of light, shooting into the

atmosphere.

They say it's burning gas.

It has been three years since he himself fell.

Every night he takes his coffee outside.

Maybe if he waits long enough

A pitted, ironhard chunk of metal-rock

Will fall into his backyard.

Maybe it will split, cocoonlike, into dust

And birth a boy, a glowing boy,

A boy with a Russian nose.

Then he could smile, and shake his hand

Leonid Mikhailovich the Second.

Teach him how to keep the glowing down,

Fix his lunch and read him bedtime stories:

Once there was a man who came from the stars.




Leah Bobet's most recent novel, An Inheritance of Ashes, won the Sunburst, Copper Cylinder, and Prix Aurora Awards, and her short fiction has appeared in multiple Year's Best anthologies. She lives and works in Toronto, where she picks urban apple trees, builds civic engagement spaces, and makes large amounts of jam. Visit her at www.leahbobet.com.
Current Issue
23 Mar 2020

We had never seen naked men do what we did.
True allies, then, know when to support people by being there and by not being there. Safe spaces provide community, openness, and respite.
For this first quarterly roundup of speculative fiction, put together in such difficult times, Maria Haskins' unofficial theme is hope and happiness, resilience and resistance.
Issue 16 Mar 2020
By: Lisa Nan Joo
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Thompson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
100 African Writers of SFF - Part Fifteen: Ghana
Issue 9 Mar 2020
By: Leah Bobet
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Emily Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Mar 2020
By: Innocent Chizaram Ilo
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Cam Kelley
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By: Dante Luiz
Art by: DAPENHA
Issue 24 Feb 2020
By: Mayra Paris
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 17 Feb 2020
By: Priya Sridhar
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: E. F. Schraeder
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Feb 2020
By: Shannon Sanders
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 3 Feb 2020
By: Ada Hoffmann
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: S.R. Tombran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Jan 2020
By: Justin C. Key
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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