by Joan Hofmann

There was an edge in her voice like she was saying go take a hike. I did take a hike, a good one around 6.4 miles good that began and ended near Sleeping Giant State Park and where all was forest with canopy that sheltered like an umbrella breaking the connection between me and sunlight. When the path narrowed on the steep mountain I avoided the edge imagining a plummet one could not survive, remembered swimming in the ocean at ten, shouldering cresting waves bouncing off the sandy bottom on toetips before realizing I’d been swept off my feet beyond safety, outside my limits, far from shore, and brave and calm and try echo in my head and strong arms prove critical and Mrs. Crane’s voice barks from P.E. class about the President’s Fitness Test and the importance of arm muscle and doing girls’ pull-ups: just two more. It’s hard to remember. I might have been swimming in my white eyelet bathing suit that push up my new breasts but that’s unclear as is how all that sand got in the suit’s crotch when I later undressed to discover it along with a bloom of black-green seaweed tattoos on my buttock. Walking without falter I come to terms with her edgy voice, accepting it just as I receive the jay’s jarring caw at the forest’s edge, chaff from the gritty discomfort of sand rubbing my thighs’ insides.

— from Juniper Volume 2, Issue 2