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Allan Peterson

Where Should I Begin


I am statistical and not
as they used to say about Amelia
a long drink of water
In the history of large behaviors I am not mentioned
In the small I am equally left out
On the last train to maximize disorder
my car sits on a siding my bags go on without me
labeled density and pressure
It's nothing personal I am not diminished
It cannot be worse than this neutral
the point beyond which disarrangement cannot go
I cannot begin to tell you
how this morning touching the oak
cracked in half by the hurricane that did not even hit here
directly but flattened Mississippi
I found it soft I made it waver with a touch
Years of fungus beetles and woodpeckers
had turned it to sponge
So I grew it back in my mind like one of the pleasures
of early schoolhood
getting the AV boys to run the films backward in Hygiene
or Sociology and the water disappeared
the children at school backed once more into their houses
and were wrapped again in their bedcovers
bedouins returned to their tents
to refill their glasses with tea from their own mouths
And it was not true that I cannot begin to tell you

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