Fall 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 4 Poetry |

Elegy

At the border between winter and spring, at the house I am living in, outside the window in the bedroom, closest to the bed, a branch I thought of as near dead comes into a cascade of flowers the color of champagne. For weeks, I couldn't think of the right figure from myth. I rejected the seeds of the pomegranate. I rejected the mirror, rejected going in drag toward the laurel and calling it mine. I wanted a woman who grabs. I bought a camera and began to save the sound of the wind through fences, to layer it over water running the course of an icy creek in the desert, but I couldn't keep the scent of sage rising with the rain across a rock covered with lichen. All winter that dark arm scratched my window, paying no attention to my appetite for sleep. I could have ripped it right out. Something kept me from that. Judgment is preferable to faithfulness. A pair of handcuffs better than a ring. The mistake other people make, I won't: because the rules ha

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Katie Peterson is the author of This One Tree (New Issues). Her books Permission (New Issues) and The Accounts (University of Chicago) are forthcoming. She was born in California and teaches poetry at Tufts University.

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