Size / / /

Each spring the rivers rose, I pushed my boat
out to the drowning forest. Hares
stood on tree stumps, shaking. Each to each
rattled the babble of snowmelt, clung
to the last of dry ground.
Whole villages of them.
The birch girls, up to their knees in water,
waved at me, and their springbright arms
budded small and tender. And the river sang,
in the days of my spring, oh how the river sang
my hare-heavy boat tilting into summer
all the way to the dry shore and the joyful leap.
Year after riversweet year
My face wore in, moss-laden like the old wood,
but still I rowed out each spring, until the water
went shallow. Until the forest
wilted with slow poison.
I have clung to this ground
beyond hope, beyond stubbornness—but now I will row
for the last time, steer with the oars of November
my hare-heavy boat up the ghosts of riverwings,
look for dry ground
between the flooded fields of the moon.

R.B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe to the U.S. R.B.’s Birdverse novella The Four Profound Weaves (Tachyon, 2020) was a finalist for the Nebula, Ignyte, Locus, and World Fantasy awards and was an Otherwise Award honoree. R.B.’s first Birdverse novel The Unbalancing is available now from Tachyon, and their Birdverse short fiction collection Geometries of Belonging is forthcoming from Fairwood Press in November 2022. You can find R.B. on Twitter at @rb_lemberg, on Patreon at, and at their website
Current Issue
21 Nov 2022

As far back as I could remember, Oma warned me about the bats. She said they would eat me if they found me exposed at night. But I knew the green light of the moon would protect me, even when I was still smaller than Oma.
The truth is: / she does not have to bend into a ceramic plate to carry us beautifully, & my father / isn't the hand that will break her.
the rattle of the rails, the shuffling-muttering of hundreds of passengers nestled in the one long limb of you
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