wave is a circular motion
Out of the wound we come singing a chorus of wings swallowed by daylight. Hand that balances wind waiting on the surface, out from the creek, free diving, descending from surface warmth, gathering shells, ascending in one long exhalation, leaving the squeeze of depth and coldness behind. There is a voice in lightless sea, entering through eye, answering voice of shadow buried beneath sternum coiled about spine, always we feel the vibrations in our feet and hands always we feel the wire of edge, the burnished arc of time. This form has become shadow of cloud, darkening shallows for a moment, turtle grass, blue crabs, bonnethead sharks, ponderous and seeking tongue of horse conch, the sea is indifferent to this body, the multiplicity of forms has buoyed me out past the Key of memory into the open Gulf of sapphire reflected in your eyes. Surfacing breathless, unfolded from palms the optic remains unspoken, fronds shimmering with morning, a spent shell lifted from shallows, empty of body, my own emptiness filled with sea restlessly seeking reunification with the greater body an ebb and flow of so many small voices in the roots of mangrove, a clinging of barnacles to our mothering wood, leaves of voices lifting to azure, a different blue than your eyes reflecting sea and horizon. from palms the optic remains unspoken, fronds shimmering with morning, a spent shell lifted from shallows, empty of body, my own emptiness filled with sea restlessly seeking reunification with the greater body an ebb and flow of so many small voices in the roots of mangrove, a clinging of barnacles to our mothering wood, leaves of voices lifting to azure, a different blue than your eyes reflecting sea and horizon. Coyote Song Not yet dead already ash, Already invisible, unknowable, Smell the sea just beyond the pines, Hear the wind combing out salt Marsh, Osprey call, mullet get eaten, Gather up what you can We will flee with falling light, with coyote song, Emptiness of waves welcome us, mangrove Conceal our passing, Not yet dead, already gone, Sleep with one foot against the door, It’s your neighbors that will come for you, After coffee, eggs and bacon, What my father never knew, The sharpest blade Is for cutting sorrow. 84 (any scar) Cutting was the secret language of moon and moss textured layers of shadow without day or spark oaks hold themselves penultimate ancient in a landscape of erosion cabbage palms shaggy with my supplications sheaves of paperwork endless recitations of symptoms a midden of discarded words what we cast off wave tumbled round sea is my only certainty liquid incandescence saltier than blood smoother than any scar Weight and Shadow After Granny passed they divided her possessions, an aunt took her best cast iron painted them with country themes for kitchen decorations. The three legged camp oven I dug out of the trash, her favorite gumbo spoon, the iron pot, potato masher, her old knives, black handled from fat, and the old chipped serving bowl she taught me to hone them with, on its unglazed foot. Pawpaw would say, "if you need a blade sharpened, take it to Mama" then I came along, flesh made whetstone, and taught the knives to sing, so many tongues sprouting verdure, so much cutting in those pots, so much emptiness filled, ciphers of transformation incised. An unnatural relationship is what she called it before dragging me in front of Pawpaw, "look at the child's arm, look at the child's leg" and they both wept, "Why?" left unanswered on the linoleum. Echoing hollowness, how to say broken, how to say, "this cut is smoke, this cut is flame, these cuts are sea, this the language of laceration" wind of emptiness swimming in the grove, staring out the screen door oranges in bloom, bee heavy, sink dripping, mockingbird rendering some other bird's song. Time does not dissipate the weight of their fear still heavy in my hands, their grief still a shadow in every reflection. The iron pot still on my stove, the spoon in its rest and every blade in its place, honed effortless, glittering book of psalms Patience of egrets This shore of conch and mangrove, Rain, our mother tongue, Cast down as glyphs beaten into sand, It requires the patience of egrets The long glide of pelicans To endure the loss of your hands Weight of your body in the warm night As clock light breathes against the ceiling This weather of absence, so much moonlight Contained by scars, delicate Tracery of struggle, cartography of dreams, your words still summon to this shore, Congregation of spoonbills gathered for tide The shyness of alligators, The call and response of owls, A world not yet fallen into shadow The plumage of night folds into palms, It requires the roots of mangrove To weather these waves, long fetch Of sleepless absence, Each day a shell curving upon itself The sound of emptiness Coiled within my ear, the sand of loss Pouring from my hands Entanglement Ground grows up through us voice fills the wrist, fingers feather wind as it turns leaves reading a text that inches out to branch tip, leaping into flight. Form is not shape, not the billet split from stave, when you bind these wounds what emerges is not winged lacerations, when you bind these words this form remembers flame, her hands fill with ash of what was not tree. Pines long for lightning, intimate embrace of sky, rain is memory of sea brought back to tongue of land, the body is ever an uncertainty the form is frail, words hunger for mouth, curled in wet darkness, snug beneath tongue, breathing the light of utterance. The eye holds horizon in abeyance, wave is a unit of measure for absence, those who return by moonlight hauling the shell up the shelving, past tideline but not quite to sea oats, delivering a message of continuity. We are as interlocked as mangrove a forest of basketry, canopy of egret and spoonbill, this not a place of deep roots, tide pulls moon over Gulf, respiration of sea, deep breath of azure, clear blue of flame, breathing as cumulus flowers, lightning flowing into wave, so many tomorrows buried above wrack line. Wind of ash, wind of burning, some live within blade of day some within wing of night, words you leave in a bowl of sky could be sparks, could be stars, what sleeps in the marrow prepares itself to fly, bone riven, phosphorescence spilling from mouth. Every Cloud Has a Life of Its Own Knife dreams of stone and wire of edge, curling upon itself, wire, once burnished away, reveals the sinuous and bright word of cutting, the long tongue of scar tasting bitter orange, laceration stained hibiscus flowering, rain sluiced into the bay, sweltering cauldron, broth of migrations. We did not dwell, ephemeral precludes habitation, residency is the privilege of those less soluble, less phosphorescent , we left no trace, no photographs, not even ash, mouthfuls of sunset and the shimmy of gossamer night unfolding every horizon. Room could not contain, windows being more than apertures, points of egress where we vanished into the breathing of sea, iron bellied clouds concealed as weather, tide of carrying, tide of shell calling us by name, those once lost, those who could not remain. Voice at the ear, voice of the cloud, swirling through palms as wet prairie opens itself in a supplication of frog singing lit by lightning, sleepless wet season, irrigation ditches filling with water not yet dark, not yet caramelized, our names flow through creeks, cypress knees, long plumes of moss licking the surface as we make our way out to the flashing jacks, silvered mullet, tangle of mangrove, leaves salt frosted and blazing verdure. Accompanied by gifts, shelf clouds piling on shore, white feathered egrets, slivers of lightning, the low glide of pelicans, we receive more than we can make in return, we name more than we can remember, endless recitation against erosion, we are bound to voice of tide, of wind, raucous calls of rookeries where our dreams slowly feather, singing their way into flight, drawing us from roof and door, returning us to a world without habitation, without the naming of place, tides of giving washing our bones smooth as wave, moon bright, curling in the mouth of conch, relentlessly. Speaking of Home, Beyond the Wind All thaw and sweltering, not yet season of moonflower or sphinx moth, sleeping by day, dreaming of manatees, buoyant in the spring, blue flow silvered with schooling jacks, jumping mullet, boiling white sand, living by the light of a cold flame, speaking to the mirrored burning, lost as we are, on the margins, talking to the moon in less dangerous than conversations with men, which is more dangerous than swimming with alligators, shadows treading water, elegant logs with shining eyes, the weather here is affectionate full of heat and damp, thunderstorms brewed up for the taste of coldness. Lightning licking its way through cypress and pine, the dog wedges herself under the table as the cracking approaches, sizzling despite the rain, gouging out long strands of bark from the pine next door, waiting for this, bursts of illumination wind straining at the oak, a song out of darkness, an answering voices, a defiance of what would deny us the everyday gentleness and motion of tide, nightgown soaked, shiver in my voice, the dog is not amused at any venturing out in the rain. Some can't abide tangle and clutter of thicket, slash of straight line wind and deadfall, shaggy cabbage palms or the wicker woven arms and knees of mangrove, some can't abide that their god has not yet struck us down, or caust us from the precipice, or that we are not afraid, having known the song of the blade for so long we have become the flowering no edge will part from the earth, the vine that will not fail, the fox sleeping in the shade of oak and cedar, a wave rolling out of the Gulf no fence will restrain, no hand will push down, no prayer will deny that we are such as we are, wind in our hair, sea in our eyes, fragmented and worn, we too will add our shells to this shore, to the constant arrival of tide and star of moon and sun, to the constant repetition of the litany of belonging. Flat Water, not anguish, lifts oaks the first steps of flight, yet leaves cannot overcome the heaviness of memory, so much despair soaked into the aquifier drawn forth, hydraulics of root, trunk and limb, beyond the trees blanket flower, railroad vine, gulls facing windward, waves stacked on sandbar Brittle is how the tooth cracks, blade chips on bone, the self shatters, shards pooling on the floor, resolve to endure vanishing as cold sets in, warmth flowing out, body anticipating the glide into quietude. Arc flows through a line in the sand, it is a far shore, sea flowing from here to there, a woman inscribes glyphs in the sand, what is mending, the cup once broken becomes new, the shell remade speaks of a ghost, without hymn or prayer we are without, unattached against sun and rain. When you're small and want to vanish but don't know how, there's no way to see how you'll learn to turn the pain inside out and eat it like an orange or how fifty years will pass, the hard cold breath of morning cracking sternum, memory will come, as stealthy as wind as the taste of the sea ever on the tongue salt and the swell of wave, tide washing through lacerations, scars forming a text, a chart of what horizon long ago swallowed, submerged lands. A drowning that returned you, moon pale, a form that cannot leave the sea, facing oaks and pine, palms open in supplication, beyond the treeline an orange burning, a brighter flame filling the sky, a wind darker than crow, the only tongue between us being glyphs inscribed in sand, lifted from the body, unlaced from skin, visible only to sea and moon, tide erasing each word before barnacled memory solidifies the text of departure, form dissolving into wave.
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Peach: Sophomore year of high school, Marvell, Milton, Keats.
Q2: Who is your biggest influence today? Peach: Paul Celan, Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Peach: Florida, a subtle and secretive landscape heavily exploited with a harsh history.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe? Peach: Wherever you go the world is beautiful, sometimes that tells you where you belong.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/poet? Peach: When I was fourteen the local paper started a weekly poetry column, I submitted and was published.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax? Peach: Cooking, gardening, walking, canoeing
Q7: Any recent or upcoming work you’d like to promote? Links to some of Peach’s poetry & more
Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours? Peach: – a forest of summoning a sea of renunciation – “How easily I set aflame to this misbegotten body, accelerant ever on my tongue, chine of wind, cutting edge of utterance, ”
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing? Peach: I cooked for many years, you have to learn from everyone, even if it’s not what you would do.
Thanks for having me amongst so many brilliant writers, it’s been a joy and privilege. Stay well and best wishes.
Bio: Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast.