T. Dallas Saylor | poetry | Special Collections & Moon Dance

Special Collections

Stacks so dark I hold up a light
          to each spine, running my fingers
along worn stitching
          to find the one you need

in this preservation so lost
          it’s home to more critters
than researchers too curious
          for the overworld—but don’t

scare, my little mouse;
          when we find it, you’ll bring it
to life for me, we’ll burrow
          in some corner study room

with a fluorescent light flickering
          above a metal desk & magnets
of words on the wall
          that someone has arranged

into a cheesy love poem.
          You squint at a dusty row,
your brown eyes a little blue
          in the light from your cracked

phone screen, the flashlight
          busted from one too many drops,
& I keep wishing it would die
          so you’d make your own glow

from your warm hands.
          Your ruffled brow, creased
lips, hair falling into your eyes—
          you look so lost & cute like

the day you stumbled through fiction
          & found me reading to kids, said
we should try it together, how you
          do the best monster voice,

& I wondered why you wanted
          to dive-bomb my sanctuary
with all its candles balanced
          in little pyramids. Let’s pretend

we didn’t see that spider, we
          didn’t hold each other tight
for a second of shock. You
          can’t see my cheeks in the dark.

But still I imagine yours.
          I’ll find that book, even if
I’m in so deep I forget, stop
          caring if it’s day or dusk,

& dim-eyed, I too become
          creature. Run your finger
along my spine—let me
          hear your monster voice.

                                                  for & after Dana Terrace

Moon Dance

How, as your small hands
          spin me, did I once conjure you
in shadow—how our skirt tails
          sing while behind us the waves
of the sea lap to the beat of
          our shoes on stony moonlight—
how did I fear you’d fade, fold
          to the size of my mind’s
little eye & pull me in two,
          tear your name from my body
like a letter ripped at its fold,
          the beloved’s name ending
in a comma, when all along
          you were catching me
in your arms, your dark
          eyes, dipping me inches
from the hopeless dumb
          things I used to believe
but holding me tight as
          I’d grieve & atone, kneeling
beside me in mud under
          night trees & vowing to keep
me safe as I fight back
          tears & a smile for the spider
you can’t see in your hair,
          a smile for hopeless dumb
promises, yet still you keep
          them; even now, with your hair
slicked back & that dumb
          little eyebrow grin, you bring
it all home, bring me home,
          so let’s finish this dance like
a fight, not a duel—I’m on
          your side, on your beat, your
start & full stop, spin & dip, on
          your lead, body & moonbeams.

                              for & after Dana Terrace

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

T. Dallas Saylor (he/they) is a PhD candidate in poetry at Florida State University, and he holds an MFA from the University of Houston. His work meditates on the body, especially gender and sexuality, against physical, spiritual, and digital landscapes. His poetry has been featured in Prairie SchoonerPoetry NorthwestColorado ReviewChristianity & LiteraturePRISM international, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Denver, CO. He is on Twitter: @dallas_saylor.