Leah Poole Osowski

How you can occur in two places at once. How the oceanalters pale green to light-lost gunmetal. I had no idea this capacity                                                                                existed, until the sky exposed its huge dry self.Unobstructed. The sway between rooms. Ballet of tenses.A decade, a swarm of mayflies, cast skin,                                                                                light intensity their cue for emergence.The solar eclipse in totality. Two-minute night. A ringin the ears. The way we're only one dimension                                                                                                     away from time travel. Oh, imagined life.I slip you over my forearms like ice. The hind leg of a grasshoppermid-bound. Portals open and shut like riptides.Shores recede. Sandbars in the mouth. I want to change enough times                                                                                as to be hardly                                                                                                                        recognizable as mammal.Sweet fin-legged future, with your salt skin and baleen teeth, beat meagainst the reef, force a different mode of breathing.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Headshot of Osowski

Leah Poole Osowski is the author of hover over her (Kent State University Press, 2016), winner of the Wick Poetry Prize, and Exceeds Us (Saturnalia, 2023), winner of the Alma Award. Her work has appeared in The Southern Review, The Georgia ReviewNinth LetterZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She was a former emerging writer in residence at Penn State Altoona and is the poetry editor of Raleigh Review.

Cover of Exceeds Us

"As surrealism in its origins meant not unreal but more than real, a reality augmented by the world of chance and dream, Leah Poole Osowski summons, in Exceeds Us, not a supernatural but a supernatural earth: 'I am trying to invoke a life with an animal instinct.' In poem after startling poem, in language both beautiful and strange, the poet enacts an uncanny metamorphosis as she crosses the boundaries between herself and that of others—a lover, cicadas, reptiles, the sea. About this precarious earth of marvels and deep loss, of illness and intimacy, she says, 'I want to place all my altar stones on your cloudshadow.' I love this book, its sense of fascination and unease." —Melissa Kwasny, Author of Where Outside the Body is the Soul Today and The Nine Senses

"In a book haunted and energized by a lover's illness and, therefore, thoughts of death, Leah Poole Osowski’s Exceeds Us concerns itself with what could be said, what we might be missing, and how limited we are in our creaturely bodies built first for survival but now repurposed for understanding and art and spirit. In just her second book, she has found her method and her madness both, and has fashioned a book that looks straight at a vanishing world, enumerating its wonders in language that is quietly stunning." —Jon Davis, author of Above the Bejeweled City and Choose Your Own America

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.