“Somnia”, “Survey Lesson”, and “Gestures in Fall” by Tobias Peterson

“Somnia”, “Survey Lesson”, and “Gestures in Fall” by Tobias Peterson

Somnia
[52 10′ 12″, 0 5′ 44″]

The magnet compels
a sliver of the iron gate
under your thumbnail

and eelgrass beneath
the river’s skin bends
as one inside the current.

An asphalt ribbon
stitches the hemispheres,
hayfields flecked at intervals

by sodium flares. As in sleep,
little compass, red feathers
litter the landscape

of our tapestry, its stand
of elms, the foxes gone
suddenly blue-eyed, prickled

by the sheet’s insistent
whisper. The weave unravels
until we wake, tuned toward departure.

The needle’s restless
sweeping beckons
nightpaths near.


Survey Lesson
[44° 4′ 57″, -95° 23’ 5″]

The creek is digging
a boundary, the curled spine
of desire approaching
the green horizon.

The dust in your grasp
nestles into dark
unpatterned hatchwork,
seams of night aligning
behind the sun.

At the epicenter of thought:
prayer, a gyroscope.
The bone slips its socket
and the curtain nightlong
descends into gathering light.

This winter field
in which you bend,
unfurling from the east.
An ink blot shuddering
into the grid of sense.
A thumbnail, rising opaque
half-moon, low above its heart.


Gestures in Fall

The pines comb low clouds
and the streets have their gray
inheritance. A veil billows past
the bankfronts. Night watchmen
throw back their heads to admire
the sighs rising out of them.

Factories once spun such breath
above this valley. That steam
whispered in the wells of our ears
until piston thunder became a rumor
of rain. Piano notes from an iron
balcony were so many silver pins
thrust into the mattress.

Now a goose calls out
and a neglected hinge opens
in upper darkness. The route
is a parade of silhouettes, dear homes
of neighbors smeared with amber
light. In the censer’s wake
drift the limits of assurance.

A late stumbler, mist about
the ankles, bends to the curbstone
to paw brute shadows for his key.
This likeness suits a greeting.

Our arms wing out through the haze.
Our hands feather at the wrist.


Tobias Peterson holds an MFA in Poetry from Texas State University. His work has appeared in The Gulf Coast Review, Analecta, The Indianola Review, Coldnoon, Popmatters, and elsewhere. He teaches at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.

Category : Issue Six October 2017 Tags :

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