Reverse Motion

sam new  
The ink fills up my pen. Letters peel off the page and into my mouth.
Uninstall the mattress in the back of your van.
The oak trees vanish. Green leaves leave your eyes.
The hole in my right sock from drying out on a stone too close to embers
magically sews itself shut.
Our light feet recede dirt on the trail.
We hike back through dark, winding, losing mountain dust.
Our boots gain tread, become unworn.
It’s a long meandering path through the steep ascent. Our feet – fully unprepared.
We can’t see our way back while facing forward.
Your reversed heartbeat: Dub-lub, Dub-lub.
Sweat seeps back into each pore on your face, absorbing energy as we move through hours. Muscles strengthen, water fills our bottles as we spit it back.
Unspeak to the hiker on the Appalachian trail.
We don’t live in a van to save money, to be closer to nature,
to pee in a soup pot, shit in a hole in the woods.
Finally, we reach early light.
Erase the Shenandoah panorama – peak fall color like the fire burned to embers.
Delete the photo of me laying on the cool rock. I disperse into the distance.
We don’t really stop to catch our breath. We should’ve stopped before we started.
That’s what they will say.
We were never hungry. The woods unravel us like we always wanted.
This mountain we could never name.

Author Bio

Sam New is an award winning poet from central Illinois. She is an MFA candidate with a concentration in Poetry at Old Dominion University and serves as a poetry reader for Barely South Review. As a Graduate Assistant for the Quality Enhancement Plan at ODU, Sam works to help improve critical reading and writing skills across the university. She recently received an honorable mention for the 2023 ODU Poetry Prize sponsored by the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Society of Virginia.