FALL 2010

Robert Peake


The pickup trying to pass our bus glides across
three opposing lanes, bounces off the steel
girder and speeds away. I feel like applauding.
The bus driver shakes his head. The man in front
resumes his story about salmon as big as his leg. 
His friend the librarian thinks his novel is good.
In passing, he mentions his wife, the cancer.
The ice has darkened, compressed by tires and ploughs.
The truck keeps sliding in the replay of my mind.
The novelist, having said too much to strangers,
tries to make us all his friends. The girl behind keeps
removing her earphones when he speaks.

The chain slaps down a rhythm coming loose
from our back left tire. The driver yanks
his fingers into his gloves. Five minutes for coffee.
Snow falls like a silent movie, water-sound hushed
by cold. White is the perfect color in which to lose someone.
All funerals should be white. We carried our son’s
small copper urn out to sea on a sail lit up
like a crescent moon. Petals and ashes: white.
The trees hold out their branches sleeved in snow
to the widower, still talking, the teenager lost in sleep.

The bus lets out its sigh. We’re back on the ice.

Robert Peake studied poetry at U.C. Berkeley and in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at Pacific University, Oregon. His poems have appeared in North American Review and Poetry International. Robert writes about poetry on his website at <www.robertpeake.com>.






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