Published on Academy of American Poets (


An atlas
on the underside of my dream.

My half-shut eyelid—
a black wing.

I dipped sharp quills
in the night’s mouth—

moths swarmed
from my throat.

I pulled a feather blanket
over my skeleton
and woke—

a map of America
flapping in the dark.

Once I dreamt
of inheriting this—

my mother
who still follows crows
through the field,

my sister’s small hand
tucked inside hers,

me on her breast
in a burial quilt.


Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Foerester. Used with permission of the author.


Jennifer Foerster

Jennifer Elise Foerster is the author of The Maybe-Bird (The Song Cave, 2022); Bright Raft in the Afterweather (University of Arizona Press, 2018); and Leaving Tulsa (University of Arizona Press, 2013). A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, Foerster has received a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University.

Foerster teaches in the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Low Residency MFA in creative writing and at the Rainier Writing Workshop. She lives in San Francisco.

Date Published: 2015-04-01

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