THE USES OF NATURE

It could have been dawn splintered by the sill
or some bright planks of yesterday
painted but forgotten and leaned against the wall
But I do not pretend an afterlife
not even for qualities That is why it is so poignant
what you do with this one
Almost no one is born at home light or day
and no one is less mysterious

At the festival yesterday a woman sold beadwork
She made ticks and mice
and scorpions  a platypus  a flea
She said for a child the heart moves over
and you begin to think of mint and unusual animals
No one is making these rats

This one is nothing you would know of she says
like people in paintings
that pretend living pretend movement
Do you have the dog that eats the moon  a missle
No those are things men want
things brutal and useless  But we are the women
We string secrets


Allan Peterson
ALLAN PETERSON just won the 2005 Juniper Prize at The University of Massachusetts Press for his manuscript, All the Lavish in Common. Peterson is also the author of Anonymous Or, a collection of poetry (Defined Providence Press, 2002). His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, The Marlboro Review, Shenandoah, Green Mountains Review, Passages North, Arts & Letters, and Quarterly West, among others. He is the recipient of the 2002 Arts & Letters Poetry Prize, a Florida Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Allan Peterson is also a visual artist and lives in Florida.
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book AwardThe St. Lawrence Book AwardThe St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The Adirondack Review