Day Returnswe sleep in the downspout of weather,
tropical systems swamp dry season dust
settling in our lungs, we are saturated
with longing, small black ants dismembering
a carcass, wings disappearing into cracks,
we breath of joinery, old wood,
sleeping pine, limbs dripping with resin
nails bent in the flesh.
Our mothers buried our names
behind azaleas, not yet incandescent,
beneath magnolias, thick with shade,
moss from oaks is what great grandmother
gathered for mattresses, soaked in water
to be rid of redbugs, dried, fluffed, stuffed
in ticks sewn up by her mother.
Granny said dreams wait in the mattress
for when we sleep, perhaps if we stretched
out on the dirt some we could share dreams
of trees, of a fat possum, high in the palm,
of moth in oak, transformed only for a week
vestigial mouth, filling our night with wings,
perhaps if we slept at tideline
we could remember sea before hard hand
of sun filled all our waves with absence.
In this place whatever you spill
upon the sand ends up in the aquifer,
ends up flowing into sea, so our names
become waves, not the naming
of our mothers, remade as we are,
old lumber salvaged, still fragrant with sky.
We wake from tide,
the old dog snores, the mattress
is not moth, there is a word
for what crawls through the flesh
but will not leave the mouth,
rooted in porous bones, flowerless,
motherless, a dark forest without burning,
passage into night, wind and sea
DifferentialWe cannot define voice
teeth rattling in the cracked noggin
bouncing off my stepfather’s hand.
A child brought you flesh
flowering with salty petals
to show you her pain
you questioned nothing.
“What is pain?” asked the heron
tossing back splintered moonlight
stabbed from amber water
darkening into silence.
The cattails had no answer
what lurked beneath lily pads
less menacing than log, lightless water
or the man who smacked me
for an elbow on the table, less opaque
than silence spilling from your lips
at the breeze of violence sloughing
through your house.
It was a bandana already crimson
less obviously ruined by lacerations
coagulating leakage of an inner sea.
What is the voice, splintered
with retribution, scattered in wiregrass
burying itself beneath pine needles.
The men that loved me in my youth,
that could fold me into a letter
of pleasure posted on some shady street
moss trailing lines from old oaks
that we may climb into the canopy
tasting night before it touches grass
and the dew of tears of the abandoned,
the broken, the undefined glyphs
worked into our skin, language
hidden except to sky.
We cannot define the texture
of her voice having been lost
in the cutting foliage of thicket
fragrant with despair, turkey oaks,
lupine and sandhill, ravines of palmetto,
sere as her hands and her utterances
As her voice ebbs into memory
there is nothing tied to the line,
just what rides up from the bottom,
turtle grass, mud smelling of whelk.
A sail drawn to horizon.
As her voice, my mother’s voice,
spills its emptiness.
Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast. Can be found on Twitter at: @Peach Delphine
Banner Art/Images: October Moon, 3 versions of a painting by Moira J. Saucer. Tweets at: @MJSEyesOpened