Katie Peterson
The Truth is Concrete

November wind. The feeling of knowing
something before you said it, all over everything.
As in, shadow take me into the side of the mountain,
As in, open up the earth and get inside
Leaving doesn’t mean much. Arriving
means everything, how you came to be where you were,
even if later it will hurt to think of it.
And the forgotten, aren’t they always
the most remembered elsewhere, before they perish
when someone has their eye on them,
and later when the shrines are made
with local flowers and icons of heroes, roses
in midsummer, angels on winter wings?
I’ll leave your customs to your own imagination.
Leaving, though, always a kind
of unfolding of the act of staying. Last night
I knew it was the East wind not asking for me arriving
because the door to the kitchen blew open, last
night, at the edge of sleep, like someone using only half the alphabet.
The book about Brecht separating at the seam
because my reading had been the last one it could take
before breaking into Exile and After, California
in the middle, with the playwright in short sleeves,
bored on the PCH, looking at the dramatic
cliffwork with a friend who meant well, driving,
arriving at the slumlord dockyards saying at last scenery.
You must forgive me or forgive the book for breaking:
it was tired, you see it was a paperback, from the time
people actually wanted ones like that, thought
books like that should be held in hands
on beaches or in cars or in cafes. Sleepy, almost sleepy,
falling asleep, awake, now, I admit it,
I was completely awake, listening to the wind which I cannot defend.
Nothing in the mind but that reckless pleasure
and somewhere in the book Brecht saying the truth is concrete

Found In Volume 37, No. 01
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Katie Peterson
About the Author

Katie Peterson is the author of two new collections of poetry, both published this September: Permission (New Issues / Western Michigan University Press) and The Accounts (University of Chicago). She is Professor of the Practice at Tufts University.