Lee Peterson

Issue #
April 26, 2020


- for Dorothy Wilson Peterson, 1916-2010

What I want is to see your face,
                  in a tree, in the sun coming out,
                         in the air.
                                                              -Jalal al-Din Rumi


I step a blue heel onto the desert
moving towards her. There are stars
of course and flesh between.
Thick glove of space—element thread.

Inside some cactus fruit I can’t find,
she waits. My arms glow moon white
searching—Don’t go.


One step, another step. It moves so thick
and slow—limbs under water.

Lipstick in purse,
                         bright on thin lip.
                                        Sweet—powder, cloth.

She lay there all night : this (one) night,
that (two), then four. I want—I want—
beating at the door.


Blue bird. Yellow bird. Red bird.
You never got to touch my child,
land your papery hand on her corn silk hair
—her eyes, your eyes. Blue bird.


I read to you that night
over the thinnest of lines—
                  I want to be with Moses.
And the bells rang inside your tin breath
rising, your wooden breath falling.

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