[closing spells]


My mother said that I should bathe in oatmeal

So I do

thick baths gray with powder, sticking in clumps of snow

and I dip in so that I no longer itch

or bleed

like I did                                                 when I was eight but

usually the bath is too dirty

even after an hour of scrubbing

and wiping and scrubbing

and I itch anyways//

a wick dipped in cotton wax

cast unevenly around that flaky skin

but paraffin is what they put on your feet when you want to

be beautiful again


I found a bird in that silver cave that reminded me of my swollen feathers

a puffed corpse so new that the flies gathered and

it stopped reminding me of you

and tufted bellies that could be me in the rocks

young by geologic time and held together by oatmeal like its mother

was trying to get it to stop scratching too—


I keep my skin sewn together like I promised                           barely

but I do


and I cast spells to keep it that way


and I wear hats and heels and tell myself that I am

ten feet tall

even if im three feet

and itchy

I cast spells to keep my feathers on my waxy skin

and paint them silver just like that cave taught me to.





Jane M. Fleming is a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Texas at El Paso, where her heart was stolen by the Franklin Mountains. Her poetry and prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Barren MagazineAnti-Heroin Chic, and Pussy Magic Magazine, among others. Her poetry, prose, and collage portfolio can be found on her blog,


photo credit: This photo features the Parsifal Series (1916) by Hilma Klint

stephanie roberts  Twitter   Instagram   SoundCloud