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The Woods are Wondrous Here, but Strange, Leonie Rowland

CW: blood

This town bares its corners for me, turns its people inside out. There is always rain, but the puddles catch my reflection, and I see somewhere I could stay. I have coffee to drink, a place to sleep.

& when the shadows converge, you will blossom, & the two of you will sing

There is blood on my bedsheets, but the people here are kind. By the evening, they are fresh again, and I slip between them with a glass of milk. Tender arms cradle me. When did they grow so warm?

& the coffee is hot, & the night is long, & where you come from there is nothing but snow

I wake to the outline of trees. I remove my shoes and climb; they mark my feet with complex shapes. When I reach the top, day is breaking—so pure and beautiful and true. I watch it from a branch, legs dangling.

& to stay here is to become her, to shelter her and sing

Her body waits for me at breakfast, fork in hand. The plate in front of her is full. It’s yours, she says when I sit down. They thought I was you. We share it, half and half.

& she’ll consume you, & you’ll let her, & there’s nowhere else to go

I see visions of a raining room, a place with a forest inside. The trees are dense, and the ground is wet, but I like the sound of rain. There is a small clearing with space for a house. At the centre, we are standing still.

& she is still, & she is still, & she is still


Leonie Rowland has an MA in Gothic literature. Her debut chapbook,In Bed with Melon Bread, is available from Dreich, and she is Editor-in-Chief of The Hungry Ghost Project. She has recent forthcoming form Wrongdoing Magazine, Tiny Molecules and Pareidolia Literary. You can visit her website at

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