Back to Issue Twenty-Three.




I ride my bicycle through a country of black crows;
they cover the earth with their lurching hops and lazy
takeoffs. My childhood is closing like a fist around my hair,
brown vine rooted in my skull, the womb of my brain,
womb that will birth the real me. First time I was born
I was pulled back to the world by a goddess of rain
who tacked the thirst of a field of high grass in September
to my back. I rubbed my back on the black walnut tree
in the center of creation until my mind flickered
like a lamp. A woman can be seen as an open door,
as dirt and heaven, and through the slip of clay in her
beauty, we are born. Because this was my first life
it was there to be wasted. Years of washing my hair
thinking it was someone else’s, that I needed a man,
that my days were stopped like crows along the highway
waiting to shop the carcass at their leisure after the engine
of travel had ceased, to be alone with that picture
of death, and to eat it in peace, an entire battalion
of mouths that stoops to pick what’s theirs out
from loosening gravel. When I was a child I knew
none of this. I thwarted. I hid. I disguised myself from
grief. One day I began to fill with rain. To my ankles,
to my knees, when my heart was drenched a shudder
bloomed towards my brain. I grew dark feathers
and wings, found the highest point within myself
and jumped. A thousand birds, a murmuration makes
its own music. It sounds like humming. I am
humming. I am plummeting. I am sails of rain.


Ösel Jessica Plante’s poetry and flash fiction have appeared in or are forthcoming from Best New Poets 2017Best Small Fictions 2016, Puerto del Sol, the minnesota review, Mid-American Review, Mississippi Review, Moon City Review, New Ohio Review, Rattle, Salamander, Zone 3, and others. In 2017, she was runner-up in Meridian’s 2017 Borders Poetry Contest, a finalist for Passages North’s 2017 Elinor Benedict poetry contest, and a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. She’s earned an MFA from UNC-Greensboro, and is based in Tallahassee, FL, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Poetry at Florida State University. More of her work can be found at

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