Susan A Sheppard is a native West Virginian, with deep roots in Appalachia. Sheppard was the winner of a West Virginia Department of Culture & History’s poetry fellowship, which is how she won her first computer. She was the first runner-up in the Poets & Writer’s Maureen Egen Writer’s Exchange for 2019 and has been traveling as a part of the “Women of Appalachia Spoken Word Series.”
For Scarlet Elisabeth born April 23, 1991
And so, you swam from me,
Whistling like a porpoise, your rose-gray skin
Gleaming, it’s salt under my mouth which held fast
As a barnacle. I noted the tiny grubs
Of your fingers, the evidence of your beauty
Plain as the hair of fine kelp, hair smoky and black
As undersea caverns. And so, they placed you
Between my knees, the drape of seasick green,
The swarm of harsh lights and strangers talking,
Yet there was the strong knotted cord I alone
Had cast that dragged you into the visible world.
They snipped it away like girl’s long braid.
I can say only this. I fell asleep.
I awoke another person.
It was then my love for you became a stream
Examining itself, its waters rushing through
Like silk while leaving the body empty.