Three bone masks

by Rose Lemberg

         The walrus chose me
The hunted hunter on the icefloe pours his life into the knife
           my father  calls me
          inside the boat that sails my blood —
he calls me Marrow
   the walrus shaman,
                      scrimshawed silence polishing my bones
                          with sleeves of shadow
                The lemming gave me
        her pelt that makes the needle sing of her in hungry season
grandmother stitched me
            with remnants of her skin,
    and called me Sinew
the lemming shaman
              scurrying between the worlds to bind her children
       to life
with threads of shadow
           Forgive me, elders
               Forgive me, little ones,
               The white owl chose me
alone of kin — she plucked me from your midst into the feathered
drum of the wind
                and called me shaman
The white owl chose me
         she spat me out to dance the  truth behind this mask
                and cast no shadow

Rose Lemberg is an immigrant from three different countries, but is most at home in Berkeley, CA, where she received her doctorate. She currently works as a professor of Nostalgic and Marginal Studies somewhere in the Midwest. Rose's short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, and other venues, and was recently reprinted in People of the Book: A decade of Jewish Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her poetry has appeared in Apex, Goblin Fruit, GUD, Jabberwocky, and Mythic Delirium, among other venues, and has been nominated for the Rhysling Award. She edits Stone Telling, a new magazine of boundary-crossing poetry. Rose can be found online here.

When asked whether or not she believed in ghosts, she replied, "I do not believe in ghosts, but I have seen my share."

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