Allan Peterson, from Fragile Acts


Out of the whole azalea, one brand quivers
and there is the lizard.
Blue jays scream rat snake for everyone
because tree bark moved.
I am watching for sand wasps hunting for females
when a leaf on its elbow
lies down, and a snake in the form
of a little river pours itself out from the litter.
It does not see me. Just as well. We are to be avoided.
We are listed in their books with the vicious.
They are merely poisonous to live.
Before the shot, anticipation, after it, the wasteful inequity.
Hunters are those for whom this is guiltless.
One slat irregular in the laddered blind, and there
the blazing eye of the neighbor.

Peterson’s new book, Precarious, will appear in September.

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