We were sinking
The windows were filling with cities
as if poured into glasses
No one was thinking of drowning
No one thinking air ship
but there we were submerging
A captain turned off the cabin lights
We folded our tables headed down quietly
The moon holding its breath floated up
We call it knowledge first to be nice, then superstition
if it’s theirs, then demonic if it means contradiction.
Remember the Tree of it, how dangerous, how nothing stays
in its place once you know feathers drop symmetrically
so the skimmer doesn’t fly in a circle. The very idea
of its place is the forcing of facts into a philosophy
someone is paying to maintain. The moment the sugar
crystals surrender to syrup out of sheer curiosity
they start to rebuild again drying to a small city on the knife.
Lilacs are massaged along the fence by windy hands.
You can see them give and moan from their fingers.
This is what they told us we’d die from, wasn’t it
—love, teeth first in the pinnate leaves, then the hickory
chewing on its lip lies to us again. How after dying it recants.
FEELING LIKE THE AFRICAN
Where I am, with me is
Frances to whom my muscles are attached,
dogs that perk with a whistle,
catching urgency from whatever state I call.
Even the strangest will do the same:
And what has flown low below me, stingrays,
loons, hooded mergansers
the almost frozen wolf eel ribboned in the depths,
whose beauty is my god’s
revenge on austerity, whose cloudy wrist tells time,
white as a moonstone.
But I have no god. It is just me feeling like the African
figure full of nails
that says the future is likely all rust and worms, muscular,
attentive, but with extra dogs.
all from Allan Peterson’s Precarious (42 Miles Press, 2014)