THREE POEMS BY ALLAN PETERSON
Who speaks for the body? We do.
Every eminence named, each fossa,
eloquent structures of shining bones
as if standing undone on a hill above Urbino,
artists making bright lines in bright sun,
bright language as the bones resurface
after an interim of flesh. Ribs, phalanges,
wings of the sphenoid, shapes named
for what they resemble, scapula a spade.
And how we look lovingly seeing a body
that does not clatter apart, that articulates
without ligaments, that presents in October
poignant reminders begging at our doors.
* originally appeared in Kestral.
Last night tried to accentuate the stars
by staying darker than usual
the dark of the body inside the body
onyx as Satan’s crows
suggesting it had been touched in places
with a hot wire like a skin
that powders from that same experience
We are easy believers
and it takes only some voice of authority
to say inside the body
is none of our business if organs shift positions
at night and a cure is to drink
nettle from a church bell or that to survive curses
a mandrake must be uprooted
by a black dog on a rope then struck dead
* originally appeared in The Gettysburg Review.
Thanksgiving and transient asters
of north wind bloom on aluminum
as sea gulls plunder mergansers
I had been watching accidentals
and the wood that turns liquid
and the anxious copper-covered wren
Machinery is no metaphor for this
nor scapula nor a trace of chains
In hard times we simply acknowledge
each relentless hour has sixty teeth
* originally appeared in Right Hand Pointing.