Congratulations to Jim Peterson! His poem “Second Sight” (below) was selected for Special Mention in Poetry in the 2016 Pushcart Prize anthology. “Second Sight” is included in Original Face (Gunpowder Press, 2015) and originally appeared in The Greensboro Review.
Into this walking I retired a year ago.
A fist of cumulus gathers up the moon.
A man presses his forehead to a wall,
a woman lies down beneath a window
hoping for some freshness on her skin.
Balanced on the heads of sleeping children,
ghosts of men who chewed their own knuckles
for a hundred years, of women who left
the doors open far into every fall.
My wife was one of them.
Nothing is left to coincidence
but to threadbare words hung out on the line each day.
Believers gather to worship a manifestation of Jesus
in shadows that play on the pharmacy wall.
How my wife would have laughed.
I did not come here by choice,
but my mother carried me slung under her arm.
Then I rode on my father’s head like a crown—
a pair of elevated eyes training in the art of second sight.
Now I’m lucky to find my shoes under the couch
where cats have gnawed the laces.
I step into the new day spitting the minutes out like seeds.
She with her busy hands would not have approved.
Cracks and potholes accumulate under the sun.
The days are no more dangerous than dogs.
The theater reopens with a string of B movies.
Boys throng in vacant lots and abandoned houses.
Girls laugh from windows.
My neighbor plays saxophone every afternoon
the way my wife used to like it.
The river cuts out another yard of clay in the spring.
I refuse to budge, I walk my route
like some old tractor in a fallow pasture.
My cousin in Atlanta has given up on me.
I listen to country songs full of lost women.
Under the tree that her great-grandmother planted
she sat in a chair I made for her.
She was too tired to speak by then,
just gazed at her street until the months
turned into days and the days into hours—
the hours into the last breezy leaves above her.