Branches at the window, like someone told the apricot, speak to the house. We can be roused

only by an energetic wind. Wind, earlier you came in intervals

and I tried likewise to chart my pain, measuring its silences, hoping it might amount

to something. Hannah Arendt was a beautiful Jewish girl, I want to tell you

the rudiments of her story the way the man at the lectern, born in the old world, did, the fall

that I was thirty and every wind had energy. The old world, when people

who had to think had wives. Still, we have our place in everlastingness.

A door opened when one person died, the door’s waiting for another person

to slip in before it closes. That image, given

to me on a summer night when the heat wouldn’t go quietly and broken

sleep made broken dreams. They stay intact on waking. Like all parents, I can say,

many people do not like the name I’ve chosen. In the middle of the pain and the thinking

about the pain, that wind felt like a freshet of a brook, the kind of pastoral place that first

made me write down anything when I was a child

thinking of why they named me what they did

instead of all the names they told me they considered. I am now obliged

by the amount of knowledge I am said to possess by the world that wishes

to name such things to call this poetry, but this morning,

smoke from the fire settled over the little house I love, and nothing moved.

It is right, my suitcase should be ready.


©  Katie Peterson