Breana Jossey


Three photographs
A winter hat
A message of congratulations

To: Melissa

I do not know Melissa, and I opened it nonetheless

If she is in these photographs, I cannot tell
For Melissa I have never met
The woman’s hair is blowing in the wind
It may or may not be Melissa’s golden hair
(My hair also shines in the sun)
One photograph shows mountains, trees
Where this is, I do not know
Perhaps Melissa would know

But I do not know Melissa

Today she receives joy from afar
At the news of her new home
(I cannot seem to find a home of my own)
How Melissa feels about this, I cannot say
For I will never speak with her

The hat fits me well



What shall I pray for today?
What shall I pray for?
To live more slowly, or to die more quickly
For endless sun, or driving rain
For seconds of pleasure, or hours of pain
For days that last, or nights that pass

So slowly by
With a sigh

Entrenched, devoured, ridden, and bearing
The weight of too many souls
The souls of my heart, my brain, my fingertips
Of my present, my here, my now
Layer upon layer of ugly marks
Stretched across layer upon layer of self
Beneath more camouflaged layers

What do I pray for today?
What can I pray for?
What team do I play for
And what are we playing?
Who chose me, and was I last?
This joke hasn’t been funny for a good long while
So if you wanted me to laugh
You should have said something funny

She took a dramatic misstep at some point long ago
And though she barrels
She knows not of its strength
When faced with falls of unforeseen power

And so the barrel shall split
Blown to hell by force
As if from inside out
And though she may survive
On the lost chance of a splinter through the heart
There are rocks still looming

Once she has bypassed it all
All the obstacles with deadly promises
The souls’ furies
There she floats
Not unharmed, and not whole
The fear of the unknown washed away
Commanded by the present

Why should I pray today?
Why should I pray?

To thank you, and thank you again



As the tempo changes, the leaves alter their sway
The branches conduct the saxophone solo
As the limbs beckon the drums to join in

Fade out with gentle chiming
And the breeze dies down

Doesn’t it?

You, flute, speak for the leaves
A momentary crescendo, and the wind follows
Cooling my ankles and fingers

Two layers become three

     Then five

          Then seven

Jazz….the voice of nature

Isn’t it?



She says I am a familiar story
One with plenty of exciting incidences
But without much resolution
Without the happy ending
The chase scene leads to screaming in the rain
Dark alleys sought from bright parties
Grand everything
Sustainable nothing

There must be a way
A place where the poles come together
Balance to my mechanisms of attract and repel
There is such a place, I hear
But it’s hot down there
I live on two poles . . . I could use a little warmth
And so, for sanity’s sake
I journey to the center of the earth

Breana Jossey is a junior at Ohio State Newark, with emphases in anthropology and writing. She writes: “Understanding myself is to see my life on paper; in this way, I see humanity in its brightest and darkest forms. Here, I can be anything I choose to be, but I often find reality to be the most delicious….and surely the most ridiculous!”