The girl carries her body as a steed carries a rider, both unsure of how swift the beast could be when freed from its burden. A hillside aches for the memory of her hooves as her spurs tickle directions to the uvula. The hand against her forelock guides sweat-salted skin towards a gorge. Below, in the quietest space of the chasm, where the salamanders are transparent with dark, rests her eye. At noon the air is still. A cliff is not a cliff when she is the cliff. Above, in the shrill heat of atmosphere, in the space where the sun will someday extinguish itself, waits her eye. Noon swells to meet the figures and departs again as shadow. When an animal senses distance beneath it, the instincts roil the blood to leap. She leaps, and a long, high whinny rises from rider, from beast. Bright sea foam at the lips rusts the bit to the teeth. The rider tangles in the air with the mount, and a great heave tosses them together on the ground. Behind their wild tongues, abyss
Anna B. Wilkes co-runs a small farm in Monticello, Florida. She earned her MFA in poetry from Rutgers University-Newark, and her BA in English from the University of Tennessee. Her work has appeared in Sledgehammer, Bear Creek Gazette, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Luna Luna, Apogee, and elsewhere.