Taylor Franson-Thiel


Flickering into the night like the stars,

like lightning bugs pretending to be

stars, like lightbulbs pretending to be

lightning bugs.


They grabbed her,

gutting her wide.


Cauterizing the oak of her body,

they nailed the first woman to the

front of their boat. Left her there to guide them to places she’d never been.

The rays and waves competed to erode her.


For months she hung as water

washed away who she was before

all she knew was ocean and gull

and roped raw wrists, a burn mark

across her throat.


She could sometimes remember

trying to catch flickers in her

palm, but she couldn’t quite

recall the taste or if she ever



She didn’t want to climb crests,

or suffer waves. She was a crest.

She was real lightning. All she asks now,

is that you remember her

as a beginning.

Suffering in F Major

"When the next great extinction happens and the next phase of intelligent life populates the earth, I want there to be as many poems and pieces of art as possible that show both how women have suffered and how they survived. If this poem is lucky enough to survive as a fossil, I hope future folk like it."

Taylor Franson Thiel is a writer from Utah, now based in Fairfax, Virginia. She received her Master’s in creative writing from Utah State University and is pursuing an MFA at George Mason University. Her writing frequently centers on playing as a Division One basketball player, the body, and mental health. Along with writing, she enjoys lifting heavy weights and reading fantastic books. You can find her on twitter @TaylorFranson.

Why is this piece your Trace Fossil?