Image by Baran Lotfollahi

ROOTS

the madrigal, volume ii

Shapeshifter

by ashley sapp

“I want to throw a party for the heartbreak

that turned you into a poet.” - Mindy Nettifee

 

I am a shapeshifter, shadows of previous lives

gathered in a singular place and haunched

under street lamps as the dark drags the day

back into the light. Thrust forward, it comes slowly,

the sky iridescent in its struggle, and yet:

I am in awe, urging. I am saddened by my lacking

as though my body was formed with an open blade,

imperfect. The silhouettes retreat and I stand naked

in the brilliance of noon. I’ve habitually written words

through heartbreak, a practiced effort of placing language

before thought and thought before feeling, but

I became a poet when my lives broke apart - scattered

like confetti in a breeze, leaving behind this one life:

broken, but here, nevertheless. I am a note of history,

the source of which has become a bouquet of lives,

though I grieve for what I have yet to lose.

Shadows trail as I walk back into the night,

arriving as it has with the same struggle as the day,

overturning itself like finger-paintings hung to dry.

My words are the same, dripping from my lips: a rouge

of becoming - risen in sensitivity, settled by savagery.

Ashley Sapp  (she/her) resides in Columbia, South Carolina, with her dog, Barkley. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Carolina in 2010, and her work has previously appeared in Indie Chick, Variant Lit, Emerge Literary Journal, Common Ground Review, and elsewhere. Ashley has written two poetry collections: Wild Becomes You and Silence Is A Ballad. She can be found on Twitter @ashthesapp and Instagram @ashsappley. Website: https://linktr.ee/ashsappley