The Rusalka’s Dance by Elizabeth Stevens

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I watch him from my waters, wondering

at what his thoughts may be. He cuts at reeds

along my riverbanks, his sickle an

arc of whistling air, a singing sort

of violence that joins the music of

sawing crickets, clicking bats, and calling

nightjars. He doesn’t realize he’s part

of the night’s quiet symphony: his breath

so hushed, his steps that crunch, his heart in such

sync with mine. I rise draped in river mist

and slip my hand in his, entwining our

fingers. We dance as grass grows long beneath

our feet, and he dies in my arms as I

lead him on, all his music mine to eat.

Elizabeth Stevens was born and raised near Baltimore, Maryland. She uses her poetry to explore the ways evangelicalism has affected her relationship to her gender and sexuality. Her work has been previously published in Spilled Milk Magazine and Prometheus Dreaming, and she was nominated for Best of the Net in 2021. If she was a cryptid, she would be the Loch Ness Monster, because she too would like to hide at the bottom of a lake where no one can bother her.


Image: Ivan Kramskoi, Rusalki, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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