Sierra Earle

Off the Banks and On Our Backs

Where the rain built stairs out of roots—
of rusted steel bars threading concrete—
so steep and slick after rain. Palms lower me;
I extend my hand to my lover, so she does not
have to do the same. The dirt refuses to
let go after my touch.

Off the banks and on our backs
the earth clumps, sinks down into
composed tufts of grass that frame
circular mounds, tree trunks form
square angles, and we are hidden.

Stoic Walnut Trees hold the air
embarrassed for us, the overdressed.
I worry how our colors will change,
but bend to the authenticity of bare trees.

Stripping brown of old blood, like Indian Creek
scurrying besides us, my stream bed channeled
by cotton and legs. I am a vessel she funnels
herself into. The movement of fluids speaks
in air bubbles to the shapes we create.
Frothing, over rocks, purples and yellows
bloom on our skin. Edging closer to

the water. Clenching toes in leaves to pulp.
I’m holding on, reaching out to hair tangled in
a mange of pale grasses and brittle branches
till my hand returns to a fruit.

Squishy, blackened, husk
ecstasy turns to mush;
we release all our leaves and nuts.

Decades of water caressed your ridges,
Creek, gnawing away at yourself. Tensionless,
embracing the banks, we are holding you up.

Sierra Earle is a Nonbinary Lesbian poet from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They are a project coordinator by day and Editorial Assistant at Sinister Wisdom by night. They are currently editing a collection of work by Nonbinary/Gender Diverse Lesbians.