Fall/Winter 2013

Robert Peake


hand that snaps the twig
from the branch is my hand, not
tending or pruning, but pausing
while walking to grab, and grasp,
and strain the bough thought-
lessly as I pass. I regard
the minor damage undaunted,
some juniper berries shook free
and crushed to a fibrous pulp,
and I do not demur to question
why my curling hand would hoard
up leaves, if it could, all along
the short path home--grabbing
sticks to smack the fence posts'
slats and picking the tight buds
of neighbours' roses, unrepentant,
my five fingers the whole city council,
judge, jury, and executioner,
and my thumb elected mayor, nay
senator, nay monarch, of the wax-leaf
picturesqueness, the presidential
pride and hard-pew reverence
of well-kempt suburbs, sleepy
hamlets--the cow that knows
that grass belongs in the chambers
of her stomach, the goat that nibbles
tweed and rush and tarpaulin,
the gentle, absentminded anarchy
of plucking at the neighbourhood
like fur for fleas, like cotton
for seeds, picking, and picking
the whole damn place apart.

Robert Peake is an American poet living in England. His new chapbook is The Silence Teacher (Poetry Salzburg, 2013). He hosts the Transatlantic Poetry on Air reading series, pairing poets from across the pond to read online. (See: http://www.robertpeake.com/transatlantic-poetry ).



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