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When the seafoam of your garment brushed
my bare skin for the first time, I knew
that I’m blessed,
that nobody dear will leave me,
that nothing is lost. The ghost of you
startling and tattered, often berating:
a comforting companion. The quince trees
listen, even if you don’t;
trees listen deeply.

Later, on your destroyed hill
among the wind-felled bodies of my quince trees, I knew
the taste of that ending; no new ghosts rising
from the still-green boughs.
My land, a spent syllable.
My hand, an unformed word
clutching, clutching air.

You are the one I could cradle to my chest,
the exhalation of you, still sputtering
grievances of a thousand years’ past, and I was glad
that you could still be bitter. I know

that we are whispered into this new land,
this old land, whispered anew,
a land which did not need us, or anyone,
delivered by its own desolation,
rejected and rejecting, but still
it let us come here, grudgingly,

gesturing the long, slow words of its rule.
On more than one condition—but one of them, you:
your death, your endless complaints
beyond all disasters—all you.
Not quite dissolving, never ending,
prepared for nothing good, and yet

replanted. And I will tend to you
beyond my own death, if I need to,
into a tree of your own self, retelling
yourself, and me with you,
through all the cycles of land,
until once again
we are ready to bloom.

R.B. Lemberg is a queer, nonbinary immigrant from Eastern Europe to the US. R.B.'s novella The Four Profound Weaves (Tachyon Press, 2020) was a finalist for the Nebula, Ignyte, Locus, World Fantasy, and other awards. Their first novel, The Unbalancing (Tachyon), and short story collection, Geometries of Belonging (Fairwood Press), were published in 2022. Their poetry memoir, Everything Thaws, will be published by Ben Yehuda Press in 2023. You can find R.B. on twitter at rb_lemberg, Patreon at, and their website
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
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Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
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Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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