Poems of the Day: Allan Peterson

by | Mar 27, 2020 | Poem of the Day Series, Reading


Turn off the light
The hemming begins at once
You hear the engine of the sewing heart
stitching into sleep so you won’t come loose
Out the window light is still moving
that sees through your bones
I hold a flashlight to the fire in my hands
How can I see into my skin’s little blue rivers
and not out from my eyelids
How can the water that holds up everything
slip through my fingers
How can we be this luminous
and people go right on talking


I started a garden just flowers and watched
the cotyledons turn recognizable coming up
like pictures on the box warning of glycosides
in ranunculas water crowfoot and lesser celandine
They were poison in the book but that was once
said about tomatoes so I ate another nightshade
just to see


A book is saved memory
A tree is memory saved as a book of leaves
This is not news
The leaves say themselves again and again
The pages remember the tree
and the leaves that have fallen onto its own
We saved each of them
to make others out of paper and wire
With each one we said
I remember—There was the elm
the rope swing was in it and the yellow bird

—all from Allan Peterson’s This Luminous: New and Selected Poems (Panhandler Books, 2019)


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