A new poem

by Allan Peterson
We hunted We gathered  We counted clouds
between the slats of the pergola
moving northwest as specifics within generalities

Nothing needed to be true in the old sense of forever
It was like imagination
true as a stone fence as wind as steel drills

silver cold as a north storm  The grasses I now know
as cheat and foxtail
moved in waves like water because wind was visiting

We had fences and orchards angled to the light
Parts of the world
stood still long enough to be named and counted

We had the mystery of handedness in nature
the impertinence of circles
unlikely weddings of drain flies and meteors

Meaning did not need to be aligned with sunrise
or magnetic north
light falling first on a roof comb  heel stone

It could be located next to the philodendron
doorstop  downstream
from a long cast shadow of milk thistle

It could be sited with words so if I said the maple
disappeared  it would be gone
and be an empty space  If I said incantatory

so it would be  with no need for singing or repeating
But I could be ignored
A gust could turn my pages to its own frivolous interests

Allan Peterson’s Fragile Acts (McSweeney’s Poetry Series) was a finalist for both the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award and the Oregon Book Award. A poet and visual artist, he divides his time between Gulf Breeze, Florida, and Ashland, Oregon.

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