Hiking the AT

If my mother hadn’t told me I would always
love women when she told me I would always
love writing, well then, I wouldn’t have this poem

to write. So now, I want to hike the Appalachian
trail and tell my lover that my hiking shoes are soft
soled like my fingers, because those mountains

are her body’s mountains—those steep peaks
I will climb are her breasts. And not to use another
cliché, but when it rains on the AT it pours,

and I’ll relish the water, because it tastes
so like my lover’s sweat. It tastes like spring
and I’ll drink from the springs that spring up.

I’ll think only of my lover’s deep well
of a belly button. I’ll thank the cut cord
that gave my lover life with every sip

and I’ll thank the rain that gave all
the dogwoods their white laurelled
crowns—the mountain laurelled

in pale flowers so like my lover’s hair.
And I’ll climb and I’ll climb—
every step one more sense of her.

Kayla Rae Candrilli received a Bachelors and Masters in Creative Writing from Penn State University and is a current MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Candrilli was awarded first place in Vela Magazine’s non-fiction contest for women, and is published or forthcoming in The Chattahoochee Review, Puerto del Sol, CutBank, The Boiler, Pacifica Literary, among others.

Photography by Laura Kiselevach.