Today You Are a River in My Hands | Once Trees Grew Inside Me

Today You Are a River in My Hands

Every morning I wonder if the anhinga will appear
on the bow of our boat. A piano in flight, this bird.
White and black feather keys pressed against
a February sky. She resonates a harpsichord tune.
Scales her flight to the post on the Banana River.
At dusk she plays a divertimento. At sunset, a sonata.
She serenades the fisherwoman on the dock
as she hooks shrimp onto her line. Today
I sing your body into oceans. Into rivers.
Into streams that would cross boundaries.
I fashion you into a tributary. An estuary.
Sworl the brine of your waters with the fresh of mine.
Flow into my chanting streams. Let us be lovers
and live on these waters. Houseboat brimming with books.

Once Trees Grew Inside Me

I became obsessed with acorns, their miniature beret caps,
the smooth softness of their surface.

Fodder for long-snouted weevils, bobwhite quail,
flying squirrels, wild hogs, and grey foxes.

Native tribes soak them in water, leaching out the bitter tannins.
Then grind them into flour, readying them for fry bread.

Symbol of strength and potential, the Druids believed
the devouring of acorns would enable them to scry the future.

Yearning to be crone clairvoyant, I tried biting down, breaking
both incisors. So I swallowed them whole

opening my throat, a wide cavern –a chamber
of echoes.  I became the soprano in the back row

of the choir loft, singing an obligato with almost no breath.
I sang of oaks living for a thousand years. Homage songs

of leaf and stem. Sacred tree of Lithuanian god Perkunas,
the hands of my ancestors, my hands, stewards of the soil.

I weave a laurel of oak leaves. Defy the lightning to strike me. I seek
the desires of the Divine by interpreting the oak’s rustling leaves.

Tomorrow I will don my ballet slippers. Tie ribbons of satin and lace
to my wrists. Braid wild hyssop and butterfly weed into a garland.

Rattle my tambourine amidst bee balm and blazing star. Jangle
amongst wild bergamot, blue aster, and joe pye weed.

Tomorrow I will graze on sunflower seeds. Sunshine
petals sprouting in the pit of my belly.

And I will sing yellow songs without lyrics. Chimes in the wind
on an abandoned prairie. I will conjure fields of sunflowers.

About Marianne Peel

After having taught middle/high school English for 32 years, Marianne Peel is now nurturing her own creative spirit. She spent three summers in Guizhou Province, teaching teachers in China. She received Fulbright-Hays Awards to Nepal and Turkey. Marianne’s poetry appears in Muddy River Review, Naugatuck River Review, Jelly Bucket Journal, among others. She has a collection of poetry coming out in Fall 2021 from Shadelandhouse Modern Press.

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