Allan Peterson

When You Least Expect It



When You Least Expect It

I never expect it   I have had some experience

so I wait   I hope   I marvel when called for

I float among mollusks remembering names

and their soft and complicated lives

Even when part of the sky was captured

by the attic in a long shaft and the shadow

of the bike was a ghost of the bike

I anticipated nothing

When a women almost covered with hieroglyphs

multicolored moons and traceries said the sun

achieves authenticity by counting grass stalks

and remembers every one like a table of contents

a page of acknowledgements a threatening index

it was not forewarning

anymore than windows crashed by cedars as I passed



The ceiling clicks dizzy with oars

moving storm air dark enough to write with

setting me off like a boat on a mantra

instead of the Gulf of Mexico

waves repeating the same sound   lisping

Now I am ready to pass by the gas bill

and attend to my important distance from the sun

weep in the willow   moon

with a membrane like a lizard eye

that brought flowers overnight to the pittosporum

the small dark cloud in my nail moving north

slowly like a cyclone stalled off the Grenadines

I think of the poem that cannot be a film

the slow and orderly incoming flies above the airport

ALLAN PETERSON’s recent books are: “Other Than They Seem”, winner of the Snowbound Chapbook Prize from Tupelo Press; “Precarious”, 42 Miles Press, a finalist for The Lascaux Prize; “Fragile Acts”, McSweeney’s Poetry Series, a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle and Oregon Book Awards. A visual artist as well as a poet, he lives in Ashland, Oregon and Gulf Beeze, Florida​.​​​​​