In The Foothills of Sorrow By Ashley Loper

In The Foothills of Sorrow

There is a woman I know in West Virginia
suffering through a whole mess of heartbreak.

She is the mountains’ dark fury
all forest and tears and teeth.

She raises meat rabbits through the slow months of grief
wraps her body in jewelweed

pulls the fog and moonlight down low on her hips.

“The great hot misery of it all,” she spits
“and I didn’t even know his last name.”

She tells me about his dirty fingernails,
the way his mouth hummed like a field of locusts

How she buried him on a hillside
next to an empty ammunition shell

fired from a gun that was almost as loud as her anger.

He has been dead for sixty-two days
and tonight we are having rabbit stew.

By Ashley Loper


A fan of dark fruits, dark chocolate, and dark, rainy days, Ashley Loper started birthing poetry like gentle rabbits out of her body at a young age. Her poems draw inspiration from the natural world, the human condition, and all the equal measures of brutality and softness that exist in between. What she lacks in logic, she often makes up for in parable. You can find her literary best friends at

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