V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





I'm walking out into the town
I've never visited, down a darkened street
I've traveled all my life.  Where lamp lights
burn on one by one, possum skitter out
on cool tar in a night become a blanket of heat
and soundócicadas, the suffering of crickets,
houses swelled with sleepóa trembling
in and out, child-breath, leaf-shudder.

                                                    It is getting late.

And more dangerous.  It can't be helped.
Every child knows there are no safe places
any longer.  Even here, under the blanket,
in a town I form with every step.  With every
breath.  I watch the possum, cornered
by my shadow, back up against a wall
and scream like an infant,
then break for shelter.

© by Joel Peckham


Contributor's note
Next page
Table of contents
VPR home page