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.

Rose Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Rose's work has appeared in Lightspeed: Queers Destroy Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues. Their Birdverse novelette "Grandmother-nai-Leylit's Cloth of Winds" has been nominated for the Nebula Award, and longlisted for the Hugo Award and the Tiptree Award. Rose's poems have won the Rannu competition, placed in the Rhysling award, and won and placed in the Strange Horizons Readers' Poll. Rose's debut poetry collection, Marginalia to Stone Bird, is available from Aqueduct Press (2016). Rose can be found on Twitter as @roselemberg, on Patreon as Rose Lemberg Creating Birdverse, and online at their website.
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