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.)

Rose Lemberg

Rose Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their fiction and poetry have appeared in Lightspeed‘s Queer Destroy Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny, and many other venues. Rose’s work has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, and other awards. You can find more of their work on their Patreon, including their essay series Writing While Autistic:

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