Bio Note: My day job is teaching community college students to write. I also write and publish mystery novels and poetry despite the pandemic, college consolidations, and the incredible boredom of technology. My poet husband, my sweet Labrador, a passion for recipes, and long walks keep me (minimally) sane. Find me at www.laurelpeterson.com and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Turner in Branford
Tonight the harbor melted into seamless bands of rose and gold that only deepened until dusk snuffed the light. In the water, a duck clan muddled in the gentle waves, honking quietly among themselves, diving occasionally for food, getting into each other’s end-of-day business. You had a meeting, so I took my camera, shared the moment with a solitary looker across the lawn at dock’s end, a dark silhouette against the rose, just us and the ducks, each alone in the joined world. Who knows if animals see that kind of beauty, fly up because the color begs for them, because they cannot refuse it, because the sky demands they accept, like me and my full, lonely heart.
Charlene Considers the Corners of the Flat Earth
“A medieval missionary tells that he has found the point where heaven and earth meet.” (Prothero 43) Charlene knows where they meet: on a bird’s wing where feathers control the wind; in the leaf that greens after being kissed by the sun; in the neutrinos that flow through our bodies, unstoppable; in the notes that float from the saxophone and into the ripe air. Or maybe it’s heaven and Edith, as she thought when she glanced at the quote a minute ago, in which case, the answer is 44th and Lexington flattened by a taxi on an icy winter afternoon in 1993. Or maybe it’s heaving Edith, in which case it’s the Hudson River on a February night after the moon set because she’d defaulted on her gambling debts. Or maybe Edith isn’t really the problem here and it’s Hugh and earth, in which case it’s gravediggers chopping at the half-frozen ground. Whatever the answer, star dust, fairy dust, bone dust, the dust of frozen and discarded dreams lingers; it’s so much debris that even now, as the birds and notes float by, the earth might be rounding into a ball.
Charlene Wants to Know
why someone needs to write a book explaining the world isn’t flat. Why it’s necessary to advise people to fly or watch ships disappearing over the horizon to understand our spherical home. Didn’t we learn this in eighth grade science, right after we dissected our pathetic frogs and before we looked through the school’s telescope at the North Star? She knows about fear: the wind rushing off the Atlantic, wrenching tree branches and flinging them at windows; about how death takes you cell by cell until the body gives up. The Flat Earth won’t save us, even if for a few moments we’ve found a home with like-minded others. Round or flat, we all fall into infinity eventually, like the dinosaurs, and sooner if an asteroid smashes into us or the sea rises or our car plows over the edge into the abyss.
©2021 Laurel Peterson
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL