A Day in the Woods

Ashley Sapp

Witness how we plant young trees
with dibble bars, pressing and pulling,
creating a home like a god in the dirt.
When you removed your hat
to wipe your face, a glistening veneer
beneath the sun, it was easy then to say,
I love you. I was moved by your power,
bending and pushing, and I, the tiny being,
recalled how hard you work inside me, too.
Moved, I say, against you and with you.
Witness how we plant ourselves firmly,
a prayer. When you straighten to observe
your work, we can see the future of the trees,
a hundred years of youth before us.
How like god. We find ourselves observed
as the woods surrender their message
of connection between effort and
sustenance. When you turn to me,
it is easy to say, use me, because I
am built to be your sanctuary.
Witness how you kneel, saying my name
as only you can, and your filthy hands
find me in the bright light, counting
every freckle like a rosary bead leading
to the cross between my breasts.
Listening to how my body speaks.
We are but two godlets in the woods,
a refuge. I understand now why we
keep planting—settling for what is
difficult, yearning for what is ours.

About the Author

Ashley Sapp (she/her) resides in Columbia, South Carolina, with her dog, Barkley. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Carolina in 2010, and her work has previously appeared in Indie Chick, Variant Lit, Emerge Literary Journal, Common Ground Review, and elsewhere. Ashley has written two poetry collections: Wild Becomes You and Silence Is A Ballad. She can be found on Twitter @ashthesapp and Instagram @ashsappley.