Our circus tents pitched by the river, we balance with great hoops on a low taut line, our tutus pink & tart. Pines sip sky, you take my hand, give me a kiss. Your long hair is pulled tight, dark as a sorcerer’s crystal ball, mine falls long brown, forgotten leaves. Sun overhead like beaten leather, we see the ground soar fast away from us, down & down. We practice throws & catches, you & me, our rings covered in feathers, like morning in a phoenix’s wings. Our looped arms link a moon above, your red bracelets tear me as I strive to cut the balance on an unforgiving line. “When you almost fall,” you say, “Fall more. Drop weight, focus your breath on the ring.” As the rope trembles, I steady, & say, “Let’s go away together.” You say, “Nope, hoops beat all.” You wink. We stretch the line higher between us by the river. We are the branches the pine trees looks up to. We focus upward, our eye on unseen stars. Finally, opening day at the circus, we work netless, that is our great risk & surprise. We swing onto the tightrope & strut across. When spotlights flare, your foot slips. As you go, I grab your arm, oh how I fall for you. I go to my belly on the line for you, say “Hold on” while they stretch the net under. You say, “Let go. I’m not afraid.” Imperious. “No.” Have I ever said no to you? I learned everything about you, about me, then. I hold on. They belay the net, & we roll like pink rings to the ground. We sit on bleachers, covered in glitter & damaged feathers, & wait to be checked by the paramedics. You turn to me, greasy face makeup smudged into a sad smile. “I’m ready to go away now,” you say, “If that’s still a thing.” “It’s always been a thing,” I say. Next season we are back to the big top. You stretch the rope taut & high, I hold on tighter than ever. The hoops define us, our hands connect at that continuous arc, hold a slow dawn together. We bend, but we do not let go.
Let’s Go to Italy, You said You, who I’ve had a crush on forever? Yes! Our week in Florence became summer in Venice. With each golden beat of my heart, I found you in the loss we both craved to erase, we flew into the blue light of night. I knew we were in love in Venice. We sucked the gelato off each other’s fingers, then decided to be all the beautiful things: sunsets, fireflies, dust in the cobblestones, ancient pottery. We rode marble horses in the piazza & swam in black gondolas. We played harmonica to bring the street to us, agreed there was nothing to say or discuss: just your blue shirt on me & my leather bracelet on you. Every bird was for us & the waves rippled in our direction like a water blessing, we knew we had it made. You’d been sober two months & life was open to us like the multi layered fountains splayed to Heaven. I learned that we are accidental & decorative & useful, poised, held by one thread, we can be ready, & still break. But when we broke, we were like gondolas in the waves, light & tossed on ripples, but always going forward. I learned that talk is words shredded, then turned into kites & kisses, because, what the hell, I want you at your most sweet, most tense, most giving, less generous. Just you, however you are. Let us call each other back at the states, you say, I mean you’re in Texas & I’m in Ohio--easy right? We have the sweetness of our love, to carry us, like the almond candy from the trattoria. The sharp healing water in our wounds, our words are the prow. We build this. Back in the states we take different flights out of LaGuardia. I call you, once landed. I watch the sunset against night blue sky like Venice upside down, water above, land below. Finally you answer, & your voice resonates like the arrow of our arc together. You say, to me, I took a different plane. Guess who’s in Ohio now. We look into each other. This place is our gondola, & we join the sea. Just my leather bracelet on you, & your blue shirt on me.
Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram
Lynn Finger’s (she/her) poetry has appeared in Ekphrastic Review, 8Poems, Perhappened, Twin Pies, Book of Matches, Drunk Monkeys and is forthcoming in Resurrection Mag. Lynn is an editor at Harpy Hybrid Review and works with a group that mentors writers in prison. Follow Lynn on Twitter @sweetfirefly2.