Katie Peterson



The thunderstorm came like a pot boiling over and the color
of water was made by that, all of a sudden, a pigment
more tropical than dense with the reflection of light.
Everywhere the scent of at least five different kinds of plants
lifted up. The desert can’ t talk back but I believe
it breathes instead, breathes vivid when the water
wants it the water can’ t wait and it breathes back.
I turned and went into the house.
Under the dining room table, a snake.
Green with a yellow stripe bisecting its back.

Something with a Lifespan

How many times
should I look at you and should
I change my life?
Monarch you make
your orange assent to death.
And how much dexterity
can you really teach me?
Does your courage
even map onto these
worldly obligations
to friends, my job, desire
for a little affection in the late
hours of the evening, etc.?

I can't put myself ever
in your head.

But I can lie
on your wing, with my left eye
letting my right dart forward
as you do.

The News

In different cities, on different
forms of transportation, a woman read Daniel Deronda
until the year became the arbitrary pink
the calendar chose for the middle of winter.
And finally she sat in the reference section
of the public library finishing Daniel Deronda
for days at a slowing pace between pieces
of newspapers and foreign language newspapers
whose syntax she enjoyed, not understanding.
And when she didn't anymore she wrote in the margins
of Daniel Deronda for someone
who might never see. Thought of that person

The Truth is Concrete

November wind. The feeling of knowing
something before you said it, all over everything.
As in, shadow take me into the side of the mountain.
As in, open up the earth and get inside.
Leaving doesn't mean much. Arriving
means everything, how you came to be where you were,
even if later it will hurt to think of it.
And the forgotten, aren't they always
the most remembered elsewhere, before they perish,
when someone has their eye on them,
and later when the shrines are made
with local flowers and icons of heroes, roses