Bog in New Jersey, beginning of February
I press and rub leaves and squeeze and pluck lichen. I must touch to disturb to make sound, to enter to penetrate. I drink from the bog, I feel my weight push into the cold mud, what else is love in a winter bog?
The golden light from the sinking sun tells us the grass is tall and we are lost. Where are we but where our shadows are not. Are we the opposite of our reflections? Is everything returned back to its proper place after our intercourse or are both of us different, the bog and I?
Bartram’s Garden, February 8th, 2020
Invisible (to me) steps I hear. Rustling cracking snapping steps approaching me. A body? An insect? A squirrel dropping things from a tree.
The garden sings for me, softly with leaves rustling and mud squelching. Naked in winter, waiting. I get mud on the back of my nice pants squatting to look at geese, I scare them away but I stay there on the lip of the shore, drinking what it gives me. I press my shoes into the soft dense mud, it sighs and clings to me, not wanting me to go. The scent of river mud is such that I want to bury my face in its cold chest. Pebbles creating a fringe around my jaw as I eat her. She tastes like moss, old sea, lichen, and dark mold. Dirt and sticks catch in between my teeth as I swallow her, allowing her to fill me up.
Bartram’s Garden, March 7th, 2020
Rolling down the hill. Barreling down this small hill I- feel my limbs and bones treated to a rough massage from the forest floor. Blades of grass bend under the weight of my gravity, I crush small insects as I am sent along my legs pummeled sweetly by stray sticks, lumpy roots and lost branches. My skin softened, my organs pulped as my entire frame rubs swiftly and coarsely the earth.
They roll me around on their palm, I am a tiny toy, one who likes to feel suddenly all of their nerve endings.
She punishes me and I ask her to again and again. I’m dizzy with this rolling love. Come again my darling is their sweet refrain as I strain for her to feel my clumsy caress. Tam too small, her skin is too broad and scarred. Is it fair to feel so much when she feels so little? From a lover too small to love the surface of the earth.
Bartram’s Garden, March 19th, 2020, the first week of quarantine
We can’t touch each other but we can touch the trees. We tilt our heads to smell-as if to kiss the trees. Angling our faces up and nestling inwards our noses sucking in fervently. The rich smell of a tender bud in bloom, young petals open and rubbery inviting us pollinators in to suckle. We gently bend branches buzzing with bees
towards our open mouths. The bees adjust, weaving in between our fingers and around our heads, they are willing to share in our ecstasy.
Lane Speidel (They/them)
Lane Speidel is a Philadelphia based artist, curator, pre-school teacher, queer trans non-binary person, member of Vox Populi, and graduate of Tyler School of Art. Their works consist of writing, sculpture, fiber work, music, and movement. I am coming into my power.