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Origami Snowflake Winter Prayer  

I birthed her by the ocean  

to swim in her paper and scissor wake,  

kneeling with hot glue hands,  

breasts milk full, my bone breath made to cradle.    

She was part whale, water, moon.  


Remembering the blood elk,  

the way we brought beast to home, skillet, mouth. 

Now caught in a City built on sand,  

I hung the garland of storm across our salted windows, 

looking out at a sea as vast at the snow melt between my knees.

Futureless, Past Busted  

Can we say the prettiest of things in the smallest of spaces? 

Spread your hands to receive fortune, whisper between finger bones,  

give me the crease between your thighs to write a sonnet in octopus ink.  


I keep small brushes in my hair, a poke needle, a bandage.  


Tongue tip curved against soft ear flesh,  

I have been drawing crescent moons under your clavicle since before the time of cave paint,   

You are a body, like every other body, meant to absorb my story as I go.  

Drive By  


Deep in the grass of the south side,  

the stag opens his mouth.  

I looked in, thinking I would find my wallet and your number,  

some way out of this perpetual plague of mind and mask,  

but instead I found my heart on animal tongue,  

threaded gold for veins,  

his mouth so full of what I didn’t know I’d lost.  


I think about riding him past your house,  

considered the hum bound to bone in wild legs 

delivering  me to your window, all lit up with song and spit,  

the way we used to hang our words from rafters,  

dusted chandelier of old poems, flickering stanzas.  


I would stop and show you this beast between my legs,  

make you look at the thick neck of my savage ride.  

Then, we would slit his throat in your driveway  

and drink his blood from tin mugs kept for Sunday supper.  

I’d light your cigarette with a look, 

and you would pull meat from ribs, stacking.  

I would place a crown of antlers on you,  

my prince,  

the one who played every instrument in the orchestra,  

and we would dance ugly  

on the slicked asphalt of our kill.

Kelly Gray (she/her) resides on Coast Miwok land amongst the tallest and quietest trees in the world, writing of the inherent queerness of nature, flipping constructs around predator and prey, and embracing the cringe. Kelly's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Pretty Owl Poetry, River Teeth, Lunch Ticket, Bracken Magazine, CULTURAL WEEKLY and other swoon worthy publications. She's been nominated a Pushcart Prize by Atticus Review and Best of the Net by Account Magazine. Her debut book of poetry, 'Instructions for an Animal Body,' is forthcoming from Moon Tide Press this summer. You can read her work at


deathcap is Coven Editions' online literary mag featuring a curated collection of poetry, fiction and community pieces.  Review our Submissions Guidelines for more information if you are interested in contributing to deathcap.

© 2020 Coven Editions

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