The Navy Wife Bakes a Cake 

A yellow cake with jagged knife wounds
sits on the stovetop, she covers it with raspberry
jam, eats it while watching an old episode

 of Girls, the one where Hannah and Marnie argue
“No, you’re the wound.” “No, you are,” until
she thinks of bell hooks’ Wounds of Passion and, of

course, vaginas scrolled between women’s
legs, their edges tidal as the archipelagos of Norway
or Sweden, tinted the way a paint brush might

muddle pink, brown, peach, the artist letting water
unfurl into pigment. Oysters, mussels, cherry
stone clams casino. What force does the vagina have

but to beckon like Kali with her wild arms,
as she blindfolds men in the dark, envelops them like
the egg grips its sperm which is drawn in,

charism-like, or like Rasputin of the blue eyes who
taught women how to make love by ordering
them to embrace trees. But did they will him to

release them from their 19th century laces &
velvets, horse-drawn Calashes, dinners at 8pm, a glass
of champagne? Her tarot today: Eight of Cups,

The World, The Lovers—“Male and female
intertwined, a soulmate on the way, the universe is
 at your command now,”
     …and now, what about now?


Ösel Jessica Plante’s poetry, and flash fiction, has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2017, Best Small Fictions 2016, Adroit, Blackbird, Passages North and others. She won the 2018 Meridian Editors’ Prize in Poetry, was an honorable mention in the 2018 Gulf Coast Prize for Poetry, a finalist for the 2017 Meridian Editors’ Prize and a finalist for the 2017 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize at Passages North, among other recognitions. In 2017 she was a Fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. She received an MFA from UNC-Greensboro and is pursuing a PhD in Poetry at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL where she also teaches creative writing. More about her work can be found at