Open to the Wind

Liz Hart

when I die I want to be
lying under the lilacs
vulva open to the wind
dry as the dirt around the azaleas
purple as the primrose
how many days of the blue jays protest
hawking at my lazy arms to throw the seed
before a neighbor notices
my bare ass frozen to the patio
slipped while watering the clematis
give all my money to the Audubon Society
it’s all buried out under the tulip bulbs
old pickle jars, some I didn’t
even bother washing out first
don’t burn my bones up
tie me into the roots of an oak tree
let me become the worms and the mycelium
all but the little bits of flesh peeled
from my back when the fire
fighters drag me off the balcony
it won’t be a long time until I die
plenty of minutes to hang
succulents from little iron rods around the door
clip off daisy heads and let them fall
listening for the sound of the toddlers
delighted by the rain of petals

Liz Hart is a full time queer, mother, wife and hobby farmer living in Portland, Oregon and constantly begging life for reasons. Writing isn't everything, but it's the best  something that there might be. Published in Oregon Humanities, Line Zero, and creator of one chapbook entitled "Sacred Names" from Fir Tree Press. Liz was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2019, but lost of course.


Comment on the piece:

Richard Thompson's painting was immediately inspiring. It's whimsical, colorful, fragrant, it tells a story. The story it told me was the bittersweet musings of an impossibly old woman, cured like jerky, intense as a circus fire, yet lovable and in love. In love with the life she had built and ready to die in exactly her own way. The piece is in first person, I imagine her sitting around drinking brandy with her friends playing  euchre for quarters and ranting this into the night. The radio on in the background reminding her of a county fair somewhere near her hometown. The piece was cathartic and aspirational, writing it I thought damn, I would like to be this woman. But who ever could? Richard Thompson (then interpreted thru me) made her too perfect.


Justin Byrne

Symphony of Flowers


Nikki Gonzalez

Letter From the Editor

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