Poetry: After His Mother by Alexandria Peterson

A portrait of a grief observed, Alexandria Peterson’s new poem reminds us of the power of the carefully-attended-to image that overflows the space of a moment. Through the detailing of simple actions, the reader receives the weight of the speaker’s own looking, and the speaker’s interpretation of the looking.

After His Mother

Crouching beneath the creak
of a dogwood branch is my father untangling
tomato vines, sheathed by the heaping snow
and starlight. He shears the bougainvillea,
throwing fistfuls of crabgrass
into his bucket of weeds. His shoulders
slump like a partial eclipse, an apparition
by daybreak shifting between the thickets
until the sun burns another hole
through the curve of his back. I think
he must be terribly lonely, to be
where the leaves can mask
themselves with light.

Alexandria Peterson

Alexandria Peterson is attending Vanderbilt University as an MFA poetry candidate from Orlando, FL. She currently serves as poetry and social media editor for Nashville Review.

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