by Rose Lemberg

She bleeds water from her fingers
ten rivers to embrace the parched earth
her eyes bleed
ten raindrops to cloud the parched sky
her daughters are bloodbirds —
afraid to drink from their mother's heart
they wither,
leaving her alone.

grief-made, the world weeps
dressed in blood's summer. The tops of the mountains
awaiting the sweep of feathers, fall silent

windless, the world waits

 oh Wind's stillness, why
did the fates turn against me — or was it the gods'
of happier times
when scorched and lifeless, the earth
            unneeded now
I, childless mother, find no corner
in this house of my grief,
in this bathhouse of my wailing.

"From these childless parents
   parched water and still wind,
       will that bird be born
             men call Hope —
                           and, twin-born,
            her brother
                           Death —
            denying each other,
crushing each other, these siblings

will suck on your heart until it's spent, tear
your sinews out, mother. They will bind
            the whole world in their thieving.

Do you desire me?"


Rose Lemberg works as a professor of Nostalgic and Marginal Studies somewhere in the Midwest. Her office is a cavern without windows. When nobody's watching, the walls glint with diamonds or perhaps tears, and fiddlers dance inside the books. Rose's short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons and Fantasy Magazine, and her poetry in Goblin Fruit, Apex, Jabberwocky, Mythic Delirium, and GUD magazine, among other venues. She edits Stone Telling, a magazine of boundary-crossing poetry.

She just finished reading Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death, and is currently re-reading it. It's that good.

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