Two Poems by Patricia Peterson


First a tooth, then maybe a
not-too-important inner organ
diminishment, the process like a play
without applause.

Curtain up
a rustling audience
spotlight pricks the dark
There’s M. in blue scrubs
stepping carefully to center stage
with all those tubes
but still, what dash!
R. enters from the left with
great guffaws and laughs
the music in him bubbles up
like oxygen
From stage right now comes J.
moving slowly
to accommodate her
limping dog

Alto, tenor, and something else,
it’s hard-to-tell
They find a tune
more Broadway than Barbershop
a sharp, some flats
and now piano, piano, piano
In such bright light
they almost blend

Remember the Rockettes?
The arms do what those lovely legs did then
swing right, now left,
The spotlight roseate and trembling:
they reach for that high G
“o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave’’

Here we all are, diminishing
but still on stage.

Lost in London

In London, walking past
Wigmore Hall perhaps
she can hear the Bach fugue as it
slips beneath those heavy doors.
On her own again, to study,
to walk the Regents Crescent,
Trafalgar Square and the church
where everyone is masked
against the gross invasion
she’s already known.

At the British library
          So quiet here
          How he insisted there were
          two St. Paul’s, reaching back
          to pull at the neck of his t-shirt
          with that little smile —
          and there really were two – there are.

A stack of books
the table shines
beneath their weight.
Here is respite to smooth
the jagged hours

Her daughter will arrive
sometime. When? Now!
To take her hand, to wonder at
the paucity of rice
served with that misspelled Indian dish,
to have known him, too
to share the loss.

Patricia Peterson is an editor, teacher, and student of the piano. Her poems have appeared in EOEAG, Front Porch, and in the chapbook HomeBound.

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