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 (they/them) is a queer, bigender immigrant originally from L’viv, Ukraine. R.B.’s work set in their fantastical Birdverse has been a finalist for the Nebula, Ignyte, World Fantasy, Locus, Crawford, and other awards. R.B.’s Birdverse collection Geometries of Belonging is currently shortlisted for the Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction. You can find R.B. on Instagram and Bluesky, on Patreon, and at rblemberg.net.
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19 Feb 2024

That was Father—a storm in a drought, a comet in the night. Acting first, thinking later, carried on not by foresight, but on luck’s slippery feet. And so we were not as surprised as we should have been when, one warm night in our tenth year on the mountain, Father showed us the flying machine.
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