Literacy

by Allan Peterson

Notes saved on bones To read them I drove
not to distraction but to the edges of things
horizons repeated I endured long haired seasons
I expected the universe to read back its mysteries
footnotes handmade landscapes on scapulae
an ocean of asterisks describing the chances
stars take their faint light smeared across the hills
mirrors no heavier for all they held
The first time I saw a rose lifted from liquid nitrogen
and shattered like glass with a hammer
I put out fire with a book

Allan Peterson is the author of four books, Fragile Acts (McSweeney’s Poetry Series), a finalist for both the 2013 National Book Critics Circle and Oregon Book Awards. Other books include: As Much As (Salmon Press); All the Lavish in Common (2005 Juniper Prize, University of Massachusetts) Anonymous Or (Defined Providence Prize 2001) and six chapbooks. His next book, Precarious, is forthcoming from 42 Miles Press in 2014. www.allanpeterson.net