Fantasy / I Do Not Want To Work Hard For Love | poetry by Ella Latham


There are two paths the body
weaves through the world. The silting
rain of action, a hand soft on
the living arm of a friend,
a diploma, a beetle crushed 
under careless foot—
this one leaves tracks.
Evidence lives in the minds of others.
So say our institutions, our
courts, our public opinions, even
our instincts. And still another world
rides along soft inside our bodies.
Shapes every step and touch with
breath of stardust. Leaves no trace.
You could not find it if you knew
the place to search. But nothing
is so real to me as the silver smear
of daydream, the opal moment
upon waking that glows with
the kind eyes and strong arms 
of someone who will never love me.
How I lace it up around my heart
like my boots, ready to help
carry my weary feet along.
I Do Not Want To Work Hard For Love

I have had enough of you,
your hustle and grind. I will not
plug your attributes into a spreadsheet,
so don’t do it to mine. If I am
all dumb animal body yet to forgive
is divine, then stop asking me
to bless your sins until the end of
earthly patience. I want neither
your tolerance nor your transformation.
Stop giving me homework. I will not
upgrade my drugstore lipstick just to
leave your skin flawless for your 
next post. Your healthy communication 
skills are just the world’s way of making
us tell on ourselves. Must I stop 
being so negative? Fine, 
then. Here is what I want:

Show up grimy. Wallow in the mud
with me. Be silent for days. Lie
to protect your soft spots—I promise
you, I’ll do it too. Sleep with a 
stranger. Don’t use a condom.
Ignore your body hair, your 
underdeveloped skill sets, your
absent skincare routine, your 
paltry paychecks. Gallop away
into the deep woods. Transform
to no purpose. Burn your resume.
Burn your heirlooms. Live with
the regret. Peer over the edge
of the cliff. Step back to solid ground.
Tell no one about it. Least of all me.
Don’t worry about the RSVP 
you never mailed. Just show up.
Bring your body with you, or
leave it, as you please. Just tell me
you made it. Tell me you’re here.

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

Ella Latham (she/her) is a writer from South Carolina. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in SoFloPoJo and The Peauxdunque Review, where it was selected as the creative nonfiction category winner of the 2021 Words and Music Writing Competition and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives and works in the North Carolina mountains.