Here I am, the understove-listener,
the ancestral keeper of an indefinite gender
and infinite hairiness
who lives under your kitchen threshold, under your fridge,
making your ice cubes perfectly square
when you deign to pour yourself a drink:
minimalist living requires an absence.

I protect you while you sleep—but you
want to wake up in cold sweat, screaming
your entertainment into the receptive void:
forget sleep, the stories
get darker and sharper every day—
ancestral spirits too tame or too kind
for a blockbuster movie
will certainly get a pass.

But I know how to get your attention.

Listen: I was so perplexed
when you asked me to explain my kindness
I did not notice the rivulet of blood
running out of my mouth.

(Editors’ Note: “Domovoi” is read by Amal El-Mohtar in the Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 17B.)


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

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. You can register here.