“Celestial Water Frog” by Georgia Beatty

pond water

on my birthday I realize gravity releases us into space.
the weight of choice lets me go and the first place I go
at age twenty-two is the Museum of Modern Art to stand
in front of Agapanthus. ponds at home look nothing like this
and are barely blue. the color lives in stories tucked into reeds:
blush the noses of miniature mothers skating onto ice thickened
by the callus of winter and repeated use. with their legs carved lines into the patina of childhood–this is vibrant. this is blue.
this is how you love something and leave it–you skate
onto the pond and give it to your daughter.
she falls through ice and pulls herself out, she gets herself
to the crux of self-discovery and lets go of ground
but takes the callus with her to MoMA.

on the autumnal cusp and homesick

running through Salzburg today my soundtrack
is easy listening, undulates like the Alpine sine wave. I feel in my heels I have crossed ground of all textures and hardness. these feet have strength to carry. I am made resilient by time, body callused– hands ripped on a boulderface, and I am peeling.
waiting on traffic lights I pull skin from my palms
and let new cells pass. my hands–I am the whole hand
pulling the body up mountains by a steel lead.
I am the whole hand, and the Erfahrung fills
glacial bowls in me scraped over millennia. they are carved,
fired in a kiln, molded by someone bigger. the someone is me.
I have never been more aware of moving through time
removed and ever-present, it’s the Alpine air
like moving through Appalachian Mountains,
the spinning in grass,
soft crunch leaves underfoot,
the feet carrying.

leaving West Virginia

old now ladled from red clover fields dropped cold onto a cast iron
apartment on concrete Brooklyn
crack sizzle butter
burning brown this raw brick life.
what’s left
collects at the bottom:
runes etched in Country Crock I drew when I was seven,
said Lord protect the house
I build in me.

old now sat on a fire escape I become the absence of sound.

the absence of sound
when I wake in small hours
in traffic lights through windows float gold like fireflies and feel my bones growing, browning,
and barefoot, little toes my own
pressed flush to this heart growing over
what’s left.
a whole garden creeps hot
over the atrium wall–
I hear it in me.

bluegrass night

sydney tells me he feels a cosmic pull to where I’m sitting outside a ninety-nine cent pizza joint in the Village.
he knows my star chart, reads me like a Kindle. leo, he says, you’re a leo and a scorpio moon.
I don’t know when I became so readable. it just happens
in the city, you’re vulnerable until you’re callused. leo, he calls me. leo, you’re brimming with stars. leo, you’ve got it in you.
leo, we have the same birthday. he pulls out his driver’s license and it’s the same birthday. leo, you’re in the right place.
you’re situated on a cornerstone and keep it afloat
with your tension. leo, I see you. leo, let me follow you
on instagram.

all of this after a bluegrass monday lit by disco ball.
I thought I’d found myself there but most of those people were from upstate New York. except a woman from Shepherdstown– we had nothing in common, our panhandles too far apart.
banjos feel like home but I’ve never played one so what
does that make me? leo and a scorpio moon. I’m vain and I’m tired of tiptoeing around myself, looking for myself in books and
the Purple Fiddle. I’m played like a sucker
who fell for city ritz, who dreamt of leaving smalltown,
who denied her roots til she was stripped of them,
who dreams every night of autumn leaf fall and steeltown lights when she wakes to Brooklyn through windows and is reminded of them blinking, eyes coming into the world the eyes
of invisible friends.

GEORGIA BEATTY is a West Virginia northern panhandle native who received her B.A. in English and German Studies from West Virginia University in 2021. She currently resides in Salzburg, Austria, where she teaches English as a Second Language at an agricultural school as part of Fulbright Austria, chugs coffee, turns poems into songs and paints watercolor portraits.