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Firsts by Molly Sturdevant

The ocean is not more than a feeling of vast black hills or the yellow unforgiving breadth of the interior. It seemed that way to me, sixteen. I’d never seen a coast before. So. Land sometimes stops. I toed the curl of foam where it slid toward me. I went in. The ocean was calm until it punched me and I tasted it. I stood up. To think that this quantity of water could happen at all, just because gas collided and did a thing then all those explosive formations, chert stone and ice, songs, parking lots, you, dogs, fronds of palm. I laughed out loud in the ocean. The ocean punched me again and I tasted it. I’m not from around here. I’m from long vees of geese hollering down at the broken cordgrass, the one early flake that swallows autumn whole.


Molly Sturdevant's work appears or is forthcoming in Little Patuxent Review, The Comstock Review, Five South, Orion, Newfound, X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, The Nashville Review, The Dark Mountain Project, and elsewhere. She was a Pushcart nominee in 2020 and a BOTN nominee in 2021. She lives in the Midwest.


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