moon, I am listening. Your clean
sheet of music clarifies the sky.
The oaks of an old grove
thread this winter neighborhood
together above the roofs,
reach toward the mottled sheen
of your face. Simplified, full moon,
I walk this street so late
all the houses are full of bodies
breathing beneath the sheets,
your light reduced to dim blades
stretched across their floors.
Where the road ends, I step out
into the field, out into the grass,
out…into…the open, exposed
for what I am if not for whom.
Five deer aflame with your cold fire
lift their heads and stare at me.
How many steps can I take how slowly,
to hold them on the edge of breaking?
It’s either them or me, and they know it,
their ears flicking back for fellow voices,
then forward again to follow me
as tightly as their eyes.
I move so slowly now I remember…
ah yes, here I am…here it is…
ground…my feet…cold air…smoke
of breath…hands in readiness before me…
eyes returning eyes…dark circle
of wind-stripped trees around me…
CAVE WALL PRESS, LLC
Jim Peterson's recent collections are The Owning Stone (2000, 2011), The Bob and
Weave (2006), both from Red Hen Press; and The Resolution of Eve (Finishing Line
Press, forthcoming). He teaches at the University of Nebraska’s Low-Residency
MFA Program and is Coordinator of Creative Writing at Randolph College in
Lynchburg, Virginia where he lives with his wife Harriet and their beloved Welsh
Corgis, Dylan Thomas and Mama Kilya.