a life grows in my stomach and
I snap it at the root--
tasted like pokeweed and persimmon,
like bitter, rough on the tongue,
an unripe forest,
an unbeating heart.
you wanted to make a mother of me,
hold me to the sea
like an oyster full of the ancients.
I steeped my belly in hawthorn and birch root,
drew you out like
sugar from a maple tree,
oil from an ocean,
a notion from
the lockbox of our lungs.
I curl my legs into knots,
trace the veins of a dead pine
against my winter skin.
It is too much,
holding all this water.
The bell jar bursts,
the blanket is ruby red.
The Kentucky moths whisper,
Bear holes into the fruit trees.
we turn into the stuff of sediment,
bare hearts on brass mountains,
brew our coffee slow
and our closeness slower,
make it like waiting for the
redbuds to blossom,
for the cicadas to crawl back home.
my friends build stricter houses,
cover them with clay and dandelions,
don't let the cats out or the cops in,
fall deep into rivers
shivering against our small skins,
turn into crayfish and crawdad,
a hard shell host to flesh made tender,
made wet and full of wanting.
Anas says that if you
whistle too loud
inside a tunnel
you will scare all the ghosts.
these days I muffle my sugar steps,
breathe quiet as the mayflies,
stay close to bog and mud and root,
fill up my body with pokeweed and nettle
keep the bad men and the bad magic out.
Alice Beecher is an Appalachian Transition Fellow with the Highlander Center for Research and Education. A dedicated transplant to Appalachia, she grew up in New England, spent a couple of years in West Virginia and now lives in Whitesburg, KY. Her poetry has appeared in The Plum Creek Review, Then and Now, and many homespun-anarchist-zines. In 2016, she won first place in the West Virginia Emerging Writers Contest. You can read more of Alice's work at alicebeecherpoetry.org.