FALL 2009

Robert Peake


If trees could throw parties, this
is the kind of mess they would leave behind—
small yellow leaves, strewn like confetti,
a branch, propped on its elbows, wavering
in the wind. A little wreckage is necessary
before the damp snow settles over, before
the hard-packed ice. Of course, I am dreaming—
standing at the window, regarding the leaves
through the steam rising up from my coffee cup,
I pretend to see signs of the improbable,
imminent snow in high-desert California.
A little delusion, it seems, is also needed
when the blue-on-blue of a sunscreen-scented life
leaves a residue on the skin, a thin suit
of leftover armor for the costume parties
not thrown by trees, the ones littered instead
with blond wives and debris on toothpicks,
reflected in silver trays which are not lakes
rimmed, like a martini, in white pack-ice,
ripples slowing, the water dark at its depths,
the bare trees droning a hag's recipe,
not for cheese balls and light conversation,
but over the cauldron of snowmelt water,
chanting the names of winter, reminding
all water of its true, solid form, as the ice
in your gin glass cackles, and the party goes on.

Robert Peake earned a BA in English, emphasis poetry from UC Berkeley and an MFA from Pacific University, Oregon. His poems have appeared in Cider Press Review, North American Review, Rattle and others. He writes about poetry on his website, <www.robertpeake.com>.




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