In the Cradle of the Canyon

            It was not anger. Wrath.
            Plowed fields of revenge
            in red lines on my neck.
            Premonitions interrupted with impact.
            Cigar ashes. A wreck.
            Break down the car
            and pray for candlelit rain.

I shake out this valley rug
to loosen up leaf fireworks. They float
upright, burst, turn toward
the earth, and fall to the forest floor.
My neck naked against the sparks
and dry raindrops.

I release that hard chest tension
that blocks my breath – harsher
and harder than life like the last time.
Breaking shards do not sting.
They explode. They explode.

I bought sage and lavender soap
to be cleansed of your rhetoric,
spoken confidently, slow.

I am where the sun shines lonesome
light on the valley wall. I am breathing
through rays of sun and exposed
I shrug nature’s cold scorn.
I am red hot. Warm.

This is the last time a ripe leaf will
fall from the maple tree, rotting with virus
it cannot repent or preclude, it is dying
is dying. I say goodbye to the rest of you
and it’s quiet.

Sara Boyd is a senior at Lehigh University interested in exploring Southern Appalachian identity through the relationship between the material body and the living earth. She believes in the radical power of poetry to transcend our human experience into something not quite describable: different.

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