Matins & Say tomorrow doesn’t come** | by Hayley Bowen

Before the first morning, 
before dawn had peeked in
through the uncurtained window,
before the throat-gravel of sleep

had been swallowed away,
before language was unstickied,

before words like, 
good morning. Or, I’ll make coffee, 

there was only him
saying I love you 

with the palms of his hands, 
whispering across the sheets,

only skin finding shoulders, 
hips, pulling.

The first words ever spoken were 
I miss you when we’re sleeping.

By the time eyes and voices
were as awake as bodies, he 

had taught the birds how to sing
in the morning, 

how to sing for
the blue cabinet of day as it opens

and how it stays that way: opening. 

Say tomorrow doesn’t come 
              after Ada Limón

When this ends as all things do, let this one thing remain. 
This here, this version of me and how I’m loving you—
you there on the couch with morning breath and yesterday’s shirt—
you loving me back in that wordless way of being next to me 
and knowing that it’s enough. 

So say tomorrow doesn’t come, say this is it, and by next daylight 
there will be no light at all except for the sun’s last crimson blink. 
And all the people will be standing there on the precipice of darkness, 
and I’ll be there too, searching the fathomless sea of goodbyes 
for your face. 

The geese will go first, following unreturnable exhale of ocean 
retreating for good. Then it will be the flowers leaving trails of seeds
behind. Then peaches shedding their skin and sloughing off all their fruit, 
pits rushing to catch up to everything else that has gone—
all the beer and the pillows and the moss and the paint and the love. 

Finally, we will be the last to say goodbye
and there will be no more poetry to tell you how it feels
like this, right here, on this couch not so much together as adjacent, 
how this is all too raw to touch. So I hope you take this with you now, 
this pit, and swallow it.

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 and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram

Hayley Bowen (she/her) is a poet and currently a candidate for the MFA in Creative Writing at Syracuse University. Her first chapbook, Dearly Departed, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2022, and her work has appeared in Dunes Review, Sylvia Magazine, Pif, and elsewhere. Hayley lives in Syracuse with her balcony full of pigeons and her pet moss ball, Peat.

**”Say Tomorrow Doesn’t Come” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2021.