Holli Carrell

All my life, I’ve hungered 

for a quiet privacy.  

I must explain this to you. 

As a girl, I wanted  

a door, deep in the vault  

of my closet,  

a child-sized hole  

only I could crawl through. 

I tried to hide,  

but I could not hide 

because God  

was always in my mind, listening. 

Spirited, premortal,  

in the beforelife, He spoke to

me, they said, and I agreed 

to His Plan, they said, or else

I wouldn’t be here 

in this body. They said  

the babies, my babies,  

were waiting their turn.  

I watched my brothers,  

pondered if 

I wanted what they had.  

I was tired of being  

a girl,  

but I didn’t want to be a boy, either. 

Did I want  


I wanted nothingness! 

To have a body like river silt, 

foxglove, smoke.  

Yes, to be 

river silt, foxglove,  


Holli Carrell

is a Pushcart-nominated poet originally from Utah, now living in Cincinnati, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of Cincinnati with a certificate in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. Her poems and essays have appeared in 32 Poems, The Journal, Salt Hill, Bennington Review, Quarterly West, Blackbird, Poetry Northwest, Tupelo Quarterly, The Florida Review, and other places. She has received support and honors from the Unterberg Poetry Center, NY State Summer Writers Institute, and Hunter College, where she was a recipient of the Colie Hoffman Poetry Award and a Norma Lubetsky Friedman Scholarship. 

Art: “Dragonfly Chakra” by Lori Arbel, Digital Montage combined with mixed media

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