My skin peels in oozing scales: tar, cinnamon, H2O, ferrum, CO2, reverberation
of how dare you show yourself in public, hide it under wraps! it must smell
when whole galaxies fall scraped off, blood into void, covering all in volcanic ash
unseemly to talk about skin flare spreading to my fingers, growing spaceships out of the debris that sticks between cushions, corrodes elbow creases, exploding spaceships fall on my lover’s face until it’s cratered
with the acidity of moons, but everything is justified
if it’s a birth, so I grow new skin, repair stiff fingers with meteors, grow, grow, grow until my fingers spin again, pulling/peeling
gory protuberances from a thousand suns—oh, you want science fiction?—is there anything else you want
that will make my existence confirm to your sleek aesthetic, airbrushed noir
smooth out everything of me that erupts
with pain/ecstasy, releasing energy at each separation of debris from core, giving birth/unbirth, endless process of renewal and alienation, noir me out of existence into shadows where even my shadow isn’t seen, but
listen, I have/have not hid behind long sleeves,
listen, I had loved ones who took it personally,
slapped my hands away from my own flesh to “help” me—do you
slap protonic radiation away from a nascent star, do you fight comets with Comet, do you want your universe scrubbed clean of birth/rebirth/fall/freefall/death/gravity
become a monoculture
in which even you cannot remain? Tough luck.


R.B. Lemberg

R.B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Ukraine, Russia, and Israel to the US. Their stories and poems have appeared in Lightspeed‘s Queers Destroy Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, and more. R.B.’s work has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, and other awards. R.B’s new Birdverse novella The Four Profound Weaves is forthcoming from Tachyon Press in 2020. “Eating disorder…” is a part of their larger project in progress, Everything Thaws. You can find R.B. on Twitter at @rb_lemberg, on Patreon at, and at

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