» Poetry

Three Poems


The aftertaste of beauty is anxiety.
The foretaste of history is prediction
as if the tongues had been written on.
I had been doing the ironies
till they were flat and unwrinkled,
the cuffs standing sharp and the pleats
and the blastula beginning with a dimple.
The background of Longinus was time.
The preface on paper was illusion.
In this the figures of the fixed wings
took on the pressed faces of threats and promises,
Peregrinus naming the poles of a loadstone,
the brass of the locks bitter but secure.



There is no coincidence
even quirks that become tradition
are rain practicing rivers on the glass
History is all antecedents
Showing how once upon a time persists
is a pleasant fiction with variations
chorus as footnotes coconuts
starting new islands on plain paper
folded to a boat and set adrift



If you’d just change the accented syllable
to the second we’d all feel better
Blood in its lessened pressure included
It would bring back the creek
where we’d ride past the plaster pig
in a suit to see the gathering tadpoles
redstarts starting red into the underbrush
and stingrays would come to the divers
entangled in drift nets and rusted hooks
to be blissfully relieved



Allan Peterson

Allan Peterson’s most recent book is: This Luminous, New and Selected Poems. Some other titles include Precarious; All the Lavish in Common (Juniper Prize); and Fragile Acts, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received fellowships from the NEA and the State of Florida. He lives and writes in Ashland, Oregon. Website: www.allanpeterson.net