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The land is throwing me off
even as I cling to her

Grow up, she says, I’m not your mother
Stop that borrowed gender

Still, I can follow the row of hills

a duckling imprinting
on a robot duck (can happen)

but the land is alive more ways
than me, so I must be the robot

following the real mothers
who are multitudes of all genders
like casuarinas, lichen, turtles
ants, yams, outcrops
still water, sparks, coals

I watch and machine learn
I cry ugly duckling tears about
my system,

The lands have their real children
They look beyond me, shrug

I fall down a hillside
gaze back in need and love
with my constructed eyes

I study the multitudes to pass on
when I grow up and have
robot ducklings of my own

Merri Andrew writes poetry and short fiction, some of which appears in Five on the Fifth, Daikaijuzine, AntipodeanSF, and Baby Teeth. She lives on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country in Canberra, a city hiding in the sub-alpine bushland of Australia. Merri can be found on Twitter @MerriAndrewHere.
Current Issue
15 Jul 2024

I inherited the molting, which my mother will deny; she’ll insist it’s a thing only women do, each heartbreak withering from the body like a petal.
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Who chose who spoke? Who silenced the sparrow?
Monday: A Botanical Daughter by Noah Medlock 
Wednesday: Stolen Hours and Other Curiosities by Manjula Padmanabhan 
Friday: The Book of Witches edited by Jonathan Strahan 
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