“Homesickness” by Robert Peake

Robert Peake


Perched in the crotch of a tree
contrails race toward intersection
drawing sutures across the sky
tightening our hold on the narrative
that the operation has been a success
the patient is recovering nicely—
O exquisite corpse of my homeland,
fed upon by crows and financiers,
it was October, and the freezing rain
had not yet begun to decay you,
though your eyes were sunk deep
and your frail scissor limbs
grew inarticulate with pointing.
Whose fingers are left, unburnt?
Who is not wincing at the calendar,
huddled around a cackling fire,
counting the fuel in the woodpile?
How long will we breathe, mouth-on-mouth
into the blue lips of our forefathers,
the only family we have ever known?

Poets Respond
April 2, 2017

[download audio]


Robert Peake: “It is strange to be an American watching America from afar right now. I live in England, near the city of St. Albans, which has been continuously inhabited since Roman times. I often wonder what it must have been like to be a Roman living in Britain around the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, as its great institutions were continuously plundered. Yet Britain has also been overtaken by bigotry and fear, and recently enacted Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty to break away from the European Union. I am now a citizen of not one but two countries whose global brand is essentially, ‘Let us be a warning to you all.’” (website)

Rattle Logo