July 4, 2019

Peter Harris


Only if we all become that second baseman
who dove to his right, snagged the liner, thudded
to a stop on his belly, too late to get up or change
hands, too late to do anything but what he could
not do, had never tried, could not have done if he had tried:
shovel the gloved ball backhanded over his back
without looking to the shortstop. No,

not to the shortstop, but to where the shortstop
would be when he flew across the bag,
barehanded the ball, toed the bag, swiveled,
elevated above the maverick ox of truth barreling
down on him from first, high enough to make the throw
for the double play. Game over.
The not-doable, done. Outside the scriptures.
Outside thought: No sound at all inside
the redundant thunder of applause.

from Rattle 27, Summer 2007


Peter Harris: “I’m ADD and a whore for the miraculous abridgements of metaphor. I’m also a Zen student who craves release from thought. It would be nice to wake up before I die. In the meantime, poetry stops the gap, does a bit to undo the illusion I am over here and you are over there.”

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July 2, 2010

Peter Harris


The father’s princess was ready to quit
his palace with only a ribbed pullover,
drawstring pants, three-quarters
of a degree, and a Peruvian shawl,

leaving behind his blundering ballet
of lasso love, also her hoop earrings,
her made-up mom, and 20 eloquent
pairs of trainers, pumps and clogs,

leaving behind the mahogany niche
in his law firm, off to become Tibetan,
ready to practice opening her throat
wide enough to chant three notes at once.

What’s wrong with this? He gestured
to his courtyard with its cherub fountain.
“Dad, if you could ride the back of a whale,
would you shimmy life away
like the koi fish your cherub’s always peeing on?”

Dad’s gill slits began to slam open
and shut in the foyer of his chateau
in Grosse Point Shores. He shouted,
“Is that what I am to you, just some
goldfish? Is that what I am?”

But she’d already hopped into her cab
whose tires spat tiny showers
of white pebbles back at him.
The courtyard would have to be raked again.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009

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