A SONG IN THE KAYAK OF MOURNING You point out the northern parula’s trill to me as we cut through the water, birthed in the sunlight: the rising song with the final sharp note. The yellow warbler not yet tentative of us. This is the harmony I will remember when I am gone – certain, I am, as I watch colors flick through, a discovery of movement. Speak to me of birds, and I will commit their voices to memory because you loved them. We brush hands as we pass, pathways carved in our fluid wake – fringed, temporary. Our reflections stir beneath, broken. Do not grieve. My body is caught alive, but there are hawk feathers in the water. Your children will sprout wings from their spines, a tribute to invincible youth. What we find here will become home in the oaks. You point to me and the trill is quiet. The final note, a question.
A DAY IN THE WOODS Witness how we plant young trees with dibble bars, pressing and pulling, creating a home like a god in the dirt. When you removed your hat to wipe your face, a glistening veneer beneath the sun, it was easy then to say, I love you. I was moved by your power, bending and pushing, and I, the tiny being, recalled how hard you work inside me, too. Moved, I say, against you and with you. Witness how we plant ourselves firmly, a prayer. When you straighten to observe your work, we can see the future of it, a hundred years of youth before us. How like god. When you turn to me, it is easy to say, use me, because I am built to be your sanctuary. Witness how you kneel, saying my name as only you can, and your filthy hands find me in the bright light, counting every freckle like a rosary bead leading to the cross between my breasts. Listening to how my body speaks. We are but two godlets in the woods, a refuge. I understand now why we keep planting - settling for what is difficult, yearning for what is ours.
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
Ashley Sapp (she/her) resides in Columbia, South Carolina, with her dog, Barkley. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Carolina in 2010, and her work has previously appeared in Indie Chick, Variant Lit, Emerge Literary Journal, Common Ground Review, and elsewhere. Ashley has written two poetry collections: Wild Becomes You and Silence Is A Ballad. She can be found on Twitter @ashthesapp and Instagram @ashsappley. Website: https://linktr.ee/ashsappley