Valencia Rain

Blackbirds sit

on a telephone line like

a string of beads. I stand on the

corner of 18th and Valencia. A

small woman covers the

clothing hanging

on a chain link fence: two

sweaters, a velvet coat,

a floral dress— with

a tarp. She doesn’t

hide from the rain. Neither

do I. Water


runs down my nose

over my lips

into my mouth.


I am kissing god with



I have never owned a rosary

but I count: cars, black umbrellas,

my wet fingers, every time I swallow—


I touch my mouth

my chest

my damp shoulders, one after

the other.


The birds are so still—

dripping. I am only catholic

when it rains in the mission, when

I feel like I could fuck god— bear

a child of divine sin. I want to tug

on his

rosary. Kiss his chin. Hold

him. Tell him a story about

a king

and a blackbird pie.

BAYLEY VAN is a young freelance writer and illustrator living in San Francisco, California. Her work explores instability through nature and interpersonal relationships. She has been previously published in Synchronized Chaos, Umlaut, Em, Aryis, Calamus Journal, and Golden Walkman Magazine. Inquiries about writing, illustrations and upcoming publications may be sent to