Two Poems by Allan Peterson

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House says it can see two trees twice

in the double pane windows and inside people

asleep under woven ghosts and throws

Every window frames a photograph


When phoebes moved into the bare branches           

pictures improved and deer like soft gloves

entered the compositions


House dreamed of bats to give away

from its eaves at night shedding mystery

but bees had a singular industry

House welcomed their gilded pavilions

and turned to syrup in the pool


At the smoke alarm house goes hollow

the shriek of it through the windows

for a moment surpassing the furniture

curtains and family photographs aghast


House thinks on its origins a roof

a simple plane leaned against a hill

sticks layered with pine boughs

surrounded by the future a fence

that held back nothing




Snow on the ocean is a pale dream
ice blues you think of when the edges
of oat grass are curling under with heat
I can see it even having never seen it
I know it the way I know seeing
a bronze Shang ding that China arrived
before history and became northwest tribes
whose faces in art unfolded the same way
an orca was opened or a sea bird spread               
so they would know the same dream as fact
where the sky turns to powder and blades




Allan Peterson is the author of two books: All the Lavish in Common (2005 Juniper Prize) and Anonymous Or (Defined Providence Press) and four chapbooks. Recent print and online appearances include Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, Bellingham Review, Perihelion, Stickman Review, Marlboro Review, and Massachusetts Review. A free downloadable chapbook, Any Given Moment, is available at www.righthandpointing.com.

View poetry by Allan Peterson appearing in Terrain.org Issue 19.

Photo of winter landscape viewed through house window courtesy Shutterstock.


Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.