Ösel Jessica Plante: In Praise of the Variable Speed of Time

Coffee plantations from old novels. Moving to Brazil in 1951. The third trimester. Moss. “Speak again, speak like rain.”¹ Ambivalence of faith. Hair loss on the scalp of a beloved. The internet in South Sudan. Bark decaying on a fallen branch. Sea glass. The sea seen through glass. A hummingbird’s heartbeat. A horror movie. Wanting to fall in love. A selfie. A pandemic in 1912. White cop. White cop. Drawing a botanical replica of a single tulip petal. Stone Street.² Hafele and Keating’s East and West.³ Admitting a mistake. Rothko Chapel. “She showed me the unnaturally blue blueberries of the blue quandong.”A desire for the other side of the world. “Yes. I am coming soon.” Infinite Jest. The Orient Express in your imagination. The actual Orient Express. The opening credits of a movie before 1977.Learning to be sensible after years of being on the run. Sitting for a photograph in the 19th century. A national apology. Tectonic plates—“Or does the land lean down to lift the sea from under.”Over the next hill. Over the next mountain. Philip Glass’s “Einstein on the Beach.” Sitting still when you’ve taken no book with you. Wanting to become a morning person. Giving up on becoming a morning person. A pandemic in 2020. Falling in love.


¹Quote from the novel Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

²The name of the 1908 Kentucky Derby winner, slowest in history

³Physicists who tested Einstein’s space time theory with cesium atomic clocks

Quote from A Passion for Plants: Contemporary Botanical Masterwork by Shirley Sherwood

Revelations 22:20

Spielberg’s Star Wars changed the tradition to end credits

A line from “Map” by Elizabeth Bishop


More from our “In Praise Of” series:

The Vase, Maw Shein Win
Scissors, Conor Bracken
Carnival Ride Seats, Catherine Pierce

Ösel Jessica Plante

Ösel Jessica Plante’s first book, Waveland, was published by Black Lawrence Press April, 2021. Her fiction and poetry have also appeared in Best New Poets 2017 & 2019, Best Small Fictions 2016, Narrative Magazine, and Passages North, among others. She is winner of the 2018 Meridian Editors Prize in poetry, Honorable Mention in the 2018 Gulf Coast Prize, and Finalist in the 2019 Nimrod International Literary Awards. She is a former fellow of the Vermont Studio Center. She holds an MA in English from the University of North Texas, an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a PhD in poetry from Florida State University. She writes and works at University of Portland in Portland, Oregon.

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