Issue 14

Poetry: Allan Peterson


There is no soul and no saving
There is wishful thinking
There is the trailer of Madame Linda
with the stars and planets
after her name and a widening storm
forming a gyre
a winter branch mapping a backache
in the signage of nature
There are histories we swallow in sleep
I was remembering the tangible
ragged dreams above a sofa
the way rainbows appear in the air
if you turned a hose on them
pictorial evidence we have a good side
and a favored hand
a desire to be graceful despite scarcity
a window like a violin
There are clocks twirling pointlessly
darkness because ignorance blocks the light

Double Lives

The connected patterns of inheritance depend
on the seed parents
Outside was nothing in the field but cinnamon
and meadowlarks
plants on their time scale tightening to thorns
the fanged moon
with its own double life the way I had two
childhoods one threatening
the other floating milkweed and gold leaf
What stood for the understood
were paired provisionals assertive and recessive
It was easy to see how
a slight movement could be a mailbox
becoming a deer a leaf
on a willow a hummingbird the hummingbird
hovering beside a feeder apostrophe
the apostrophe being both plural and possessive

Of All Places

Some things were not fully explained
lemon shark buried and unburied
by successive tides
fashions like dressing for luck
a handkerchief folded so pale flames burned
in a breast pocket
or a silk comet slipped through the atmosphere
to fall there of all places
softly without harming the wearer
or not fire after all
but cut paper a child’s drawing of the happy
shapes of sunrise
material and spirit being the same thing
at different speeds and sizes