Five by


Allan Peterson








To each material its tolerance as with marble

so even gods must be braced against a stump

as you see in sculpture

The divine is never self supporting it needs props

like the object you use for that place on your back

you cannot reach








Flying face first fast

then stopping abruptly

without pitching forward

or missing the branch entirely

the redstart perfectly alights

I hear a voice say King Me








In shop class we made pitchforks

for our mothers

They called them fire tongs

but we knew they were vengeance 

required in the curriculum

before the cypress knee lamps








I love species that end in elegans

that we recognize grace in all taxonomies

affection for life among the even invisible

species in genus  your hand in mine

Kingdom  Phylum  Class








A man inhaled a seed without knowing

I inhaled a gnat as you have

Nicolai was found with a tree in his lung

relieved it wasn’t cancer

I coughed  I exhaled small wings









Allan Peterson’s most recent book is This Luminous New and Selected Poems (Panhandler Books).  Some other titles include Precarious; All the Lavish in Common (Juniper Prize, U Mass Press), and Fragile Acts (McSweeney’s), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  He lives and writes in Oregon.  Allan Peterson is online at



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