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Charlotte OBrien

Charlotte OBrien is a queer writer living in Portland, Oregon. She was born in England, but lived most of her live in Australia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Charlotte graduated from Pacific University’s MFA program in 2013 with a concentration in poetry and nonfiction. She has essays and interviews most recently published in The Rumpus, Mutha Magazine, and The Manifest-Station. Recent poems appeared in Reed Magazineand Epiphany. You can find out more about her work at


In God’s parking lot
I watch a crow, perched in the highest bones
of winter’s tree, its nest disguised there—
branches nestled inside branches.
Not a leaf in sight.

He makes small movements
with his head as he turns
to watch / turns to watch.

I think, One, for sorry,
but I know / if one is alone, there’s another
close by. I spot the second
strutting along wet shingles.

It’s raining in God’s parking lot—
all, Sunday afternoon with its empty
nail salon, and donut shop / the laundromat
filled to the gills with poor
faces folding themselves down on Formica tables.

All season we waited for rain,
and now it won’t stop,
so that everything is soaked /on the inside
sprouting quietly—a furtive thing
inside a dark place, like quickening.

He thrusts his black body
to the rain-soaked ground / looks up
at his mate, (there’s no) hiding
in those naked branches.
I think, Two, for joy. And it’s what I want —

Only, like the tree / I’m deciduous.
Like leaves or horns or teeth
I can’t help but shed my skin / each time
just like the crows, poised
in the branches of their home, thinking
and thinking / I might fly.


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