"there's no through trail" —Han-Shan, translated by Gary Snyder

So Vast by Emily Stoddard

Ashleigh Coleman

Ashleigh Coleman

Issue: Fall 2016

            “You know this well, you who are also there”
                                                                – Hadewijch

Home is wherever we hold

                            our breath the least.

The white oak does not remember it differently


           her memory is the only god I understand—

Here, amen is not amen but

                            the exhale through the center of moon

           Say you know this too


           we can be homesick together—

                            trade our histories like the trees do,

           starting at the roots.

These secret understories we keep,

                            vast as oceans but bordered by skin—

           Let us defy it all


           seeing each other, become a revolution.

After all, the only real love

                            is the kind that witnesses—

           the way a full moon shreds the forest open

                                        without crushing the ferns,

                            a light that breathes




Emily Stoddard‘s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in New Poetry from the Midwest, Menacing Hedge, Watershed Review, Hermeneutic Chaos, and elsewhere. She is an affiliate of Amherst Writers & Artists and the founder of Voice & Vessel, a writing studio. Learn more about her work at www.emilystoddard.com.