“Gaping, Girl"; “Sedate Your Hesitation”
By: Ashley Sapp
We hiked in the dead of summer, dead on our feet, dead ahead. We felt between our breasts and swiped at the sweat pooling there,
this most sensitive spot. Climb, girl. We are not fooled, girl. A cavern in your mouth, gaping, girl. Seeking the forsaken and kissing graves, turning them, I’m sure, with sticky lips and porous teeth, we are only meant to dive off a cliff for the mourners. We hear our body speak, girl. By September you’ll have sewn your skin back into place and smiled in response to the ones who have found safety, kissed their fiends, dissolved despite, despite. We reach the top this time, forsaken the monsters to the abandoned, and breathe, girl, while deciding what to do with this new knowledge, a woman now, tasting something.
“Sedate Your Hesitation”
after “A Certain Shade Of Green” by Incubus
I recall the summer when I started to spread my legs, discovering desire like discovering music, a pinnacle time of my teenage years soaked in premature alcoholism and desperation for attention - but what are you waiting for? - a certain shade of green flowering from between my fingers and toes as I sank into the earth, prepared myself to bloom, though I was made a woman before I knew how to wield that power.
I lost all words when I was buried… they fell from my head, leaking from my ears and mouth, clinging to my tongue as I tasted loss and tried to take it back, swallow it whole, demand of myself a strength I wasn't sure I had grown, grief a supple tree beginning from a seed in my stomach, a dark room of strangers and ghosts and outsiders that spoke a language I had not yet learned - but what am I waiting for?
I mourned for who I was, the words I lost, the mountain I had to climb in order to see myself regain letters plucked from the hills I traveled, separate the green fibers and feel them with tired fingertips, divide the threads and run them up my arms and around my neck, fists clenched with all I could hold, with all I could stand. Choose now or lose it all.
Sorrow clung to my lungs as I struggled to breathe, my body quaking with the effort of not only burgeoning but also of wasting, a simultaneous design of a mountain turning over into itself, heaps of grass and rock and weed devoured in the gulp of air taken as my body shattered. This was the art, the act, the ruination of becoming. I wait. Yes, I’ll wait and then I’ll take flight, shades of green sewn to my feet.
“There Is No Such Thing As Nothing”
There is no such thing as nothing: not in this body.
The center of my abdomen and the curve of my ankles and the notches of bone in my neck and every little knuckle.
The focus of the universe is found behind the treeline veins of my eyes but also in the bullfrog outside my window
and also in the pink of your palms and also in the hungry summer heat. You smile and say you love it here.
My temperament understands more now that it has finally stopped accosting the past.
There is no such thing as nothing: not in this world.
I spell beauty on your lips and can taste myself, and this is how I know. Rearranging these words rearranges the universe, and I am but one – centered.
Ashley Sapp resides in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband and furbabies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Carolina in 2010 and has written for various publications. Her work has previously appeared in Indie Chick, The Daily Drunk Mag, the Common Ground Review, and Elephants Never. She is a bibliophile who enjoys traveling, tattoos, and photography. Ashley has written two poetry collections: Wild Becomes You and Silence Is A Ballad.