Sara Peck

dear anne with the broken fingernails



when elsewhere the weather is what you want

there’s that feeling of the world happening

without you where breathing feels

a little less reciprocal


one summer my nails

packed black with silt dug from the creek

behind the pool where girls grew cruel

to everything


we named sandbars

after states like Mississippi named rearranged

rocks mutually beneficial like we did

everything we used


feral dared each other

rend the heads off crawdads with your teeth

spit out the skull in the dip of time

before the spindly body knew to bleed


the rocks being rocks didn’t know

how easy it was to drown without water


in the shallow and the soft

parts I let the penny taste nip the corners

of my mouth


like the water was mine and the truth

is we tell ourselves the splitting of heartbeat

sounds isn’t a symptom but the stitches

our lungs need to hold themselves together


SARA PECK is the author of a chapbook, Yr Lad Bob, a collection with poet Jared Joseph, Here You Are, and a forthcoming chapbook with Liz Chereskin. She runs a bookshop and teaches middle and high school in Charleston, SC.