“Cheers to the Forest” and “A Plea to My Daughter to Keep Blazing Trails” by Amy Le Ann Richardson

"Cheers to the Forest" 

I ran away from home
to drink in the woods.

Not forever –
just this one evening 

me on the streambank,
sipping my drink and 

soaking in the sounds
birds chatting across

the canopy, tree frogs 
scratchy calls, and

water gurgling 
along rocks. 

Just one
cool, peaceful evening

with my thoughts and
a beer in the woods. 

"A Plea to My Daughter to Keep Blazing Trails"

Hush your mouth!
No one says bad things about my baby.

Point your compass away from those
snakes who bring you down.

Show them the fierce wildcat you are.

Climb that mountain and shout at them
from the top, then turn around and help
the next girl up.

Read her stories. 
Share yours.
Close your eyes and soak in the tree frogs
singing outside the window.

Close your eyes and breathe it all in. 
Never trust the GPS. 
Always bring a map.

Carry extra snacks and share.
Hear the rhythm of the banjo in your blood
and let your heart pump to its own beat.

Claim your roots, but do better.

Rejoice in the songs of others.
Most of all 
always remember, 

Your body is your own.

Amy Le Ann Richardson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University (‘09). Amy is a writer and visual artist deeply concerned with environmental issues and her work has been featured in Black Moon Magazine, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and is forthcoming in The Yearling. Amy lives and works on her family farm writing poems and stories, growing veggies, making maple syrup, and homeschooling her kids with her partner, Channing. You can find her artwork and writing online at www.chickenhousestudio.com and her farm at www.forgottenfoods.com