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Jocelyn Ulevicus

How To Open Up And Like It

Raising my arms overhead to replicate a deer, laughing our asses

off because in no way did I look like a deer, kissing the tap dancer

in the smoke-filled barroom in the Bastille. In no way, did it replicate

kissing—but that didn’t matter—you knew what I meant, that there is

no reason to draw parallel lines in order to find yourself in the features

of another / come here, let me warm you / let’s not over think our sensitivities.

I happen to be very drawn to swans lately—trust me, I know how expected

that is, the whole thing about the ugly duckling. But it isn’t that. It isn’t how

elegant they look floating across the water but their apparent awkward struggle

when attempting—and then succeeding—to fly. All this can be is the promise

of a better life. The ache is an opening, a handful of clear / cold water. You

over there, take off your shirt, swim in my hand.

At The End Of April

I want the crow’s feathers

to change depending on what

I feed them / I don’t know what

to do with feeling—happy.

Stuck in the pinewood,

my favorite thing about you

is how little you try

dragging on what’s essential—

that / and the curl my index finger

has made at the back of your head.

If I stay an hour longer / I will not

contaminate anything—I promise.

Shelled and cracked corn, millet,

and ochre-colored seeds,

to give you luster, dried peas,

for your broken quill,

and the most attractive, sunflower,

to turn / you blue.

Four crows are good luck / do you

believe in astral projection—

or the kindness of hunters? Take off

your shoes and socks and tell me a story

about losing authority in narrow settings

while I take off my shirt.


Jocelyn Ulevicus is an American artist and writer whose work interrogates the transience of being and the hospitality of presence. Her work is either forthcoming or published in magazines such as SWWIM Every Day, The Free State Review, Blue Mesa Review, and Humana Obscura, amongs others. In addition, Ulevicus is a Best Poets 2022 nominee, a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee, and her in-progress memoir, The Birth of a Tree, was shortlisted for the 2019 Santa Fe Literary Award Program. She is currently in Amsterdam, completing research for her first collection of poems.


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