Silver Branch series:

Peach Delphine

"Growing up in a mother tongue thoroughly larded with malevolence, how do we reclaim a language that so relentlessly excludes and condemns so many? For the broken, the fluid, every day is a reclamation, a reconstruction. To remake the self with each waking, each poem becomes a cartography of that navigation."

Peach Delphine

Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Proud Mama of a thoroughly spoiled dog, former cook. Infatuated with the undeveloped Gulf coast. Peach is published in IceFloe, Feral, Cypress, Petrichor, Coming up in Dust, Words & Whispers, Thorn, Doghouse, Floodlight, Lumiere and Ethel Zine.

Twitter: @PeachDelphine

Seasonal Passage

Wave is not sea, word is not tongue.

We roll lightning around in our mouths, name

to conceal what will consume us. Lipstick embers

wings of spoonbill, a kiss waterside as cormorants sun,

unfolded. Sky radiates blue heat,

not yet wet season, nor the hour of cumulus

and thunder. We stand at slack water

in between tides, unwilling to claim

what was never ours, unwilling to abandon

so much mangrove, palmetto, to blade and burning.

Forthcoming in Black Bough edition 'Freedom/ Rapture'.

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Transpiration

Mother tongue does not contain us,

glyphs carved into flesh, heavy shells of silence.

Sun bleached, we endure that we may endure more. 

We sleep in shade of oaks that acorns may sprout

in our dreams, that we may learn another language

without poison flowering in our words.

We  wade into this tide that we may be folded

into liquid motion of oceans, evaporating into clouds, let us

become rain that something may sprout in our passing.

Forthcoming in Black Bough edition 'Freedom/ Rapture'.

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Sinkhole

 

Every sink is a portal,

an opening up of the deep within,

an eye for blue unblinking,

sand-licking wind. Every tree 

is a thumbprint of sky.

 

Every sink is a portal, a reaching outward

of near aquifer, water from the lightless,

the bones of this place spongy

with age. Rain percolates, dissolves

limestone, water gathers light from within.

Forthcoming in Black Bough edition 'Deep Time 2'.

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Eating Stone

Palmetto had overgrown wiregrass, heat shimmering on a bay of verdure between pine and cypress. Great-grandmother's house, flat-roofed, squats against the sun, shades trees and wind's the only comfort, old cow sheds slump into the hammock. They'd had a grove and cattle, spoke of everything as trees or stock, could love a child, just not what they grew into. If a tree doesn't produce tear it out by the roots. That you must conceal what you must conceal  becomes the innermost secret, a bird low on the horizon growing ever larger. We birthed ourselves into a landscape of solution holes and subsidence. We are the erosion eating limestone, flowing through an aquifer of darkness, conduits of a returning, the greater body that accepts us, names unsealed.

My mother's mother would not eat till the men had been served, just like her mother before her. Eating mostly while she cooked, it's how she taught me - "you've a light hand for biscuits" - in any other circumstance a compliment. Some days began with bacon, some with sausage, always start your meat in a cold skillet. Her kitchen was a teaching. How to make, how to feed, how some doors will always remain shut, how some will never have a plate or seat at the table. Having the touch for skillet and blade, she taught me to cook. It was knives and burns that set the marker for difference, cutting and burning solidified the world, delineated separation. Later, lovers would mark the body, making breath visible. What the eye cannot see, what the mouth cannot taste, is not sustenance. A knife has a life of its own, beyond onion, ginger, garlic. It dreams of the board, of the stone, of a hot bath and dry towel, it dreams of hands, knuckles against its cheek.

Riding south on the bus, arriving downtown, decompressing from cold winter, seems a place of blood and bundling. Tallahassee was never home; all that clay, ravines pooling with smoke, grass going brown, going into Georgia just outlandish. Granny said "frost is what forms on the freezer roof when you stand there, staring." She thought air conditioning was a temptation, indolence and mildew the certain results, iniquity a certain date. When last at the old cemetery, downtown, kneeling to offer a man my mouth, love may have been involved; the dead speak of it often, love, the willingness to please, how the mosquitoes fed while he fed. Indolent is a word of large reptiles hauled out onto sandbar basking, gone in a breath, amber water barely rippling. The beast within is languid, floats just beneath the surface. How can we know our mothers? We, the dead yet not garlanded with dead names and accoutrements, of a life not our own, how can we speak of our mothers with no tongue of our own. When we offer up to sky with cupped hands, as we breathe wave and sea collapses upon itself all the words we thought we contained, flowing into darkness, a tide rides upriver.

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