The yellow crepe
in the wake of the parade
performs a wilted, fluttering charade

above the pages, dropping
bridge height to the river
in swell. His body’s ruffled
edges and his uniform gone slack.

The illogic of emergence
catches the eye, bulb flare
flashing in the eelgrass
and gasoline slicks. A few
stand above, tossing notes

and petals that pinwheel on
little waves to the margin of his neck.
Their rustling, his slowed whisper
and cloud-dark face. His ears
underwater, filling with music.



This northern line calls
at the angel station.
Straphangers trace shambling halos
and underwater music sinks
through the wires.

A girl steps from the platform
into light, the lace of her
mother’s dress fills her
left hand and there with her
right she parts the dust,
dragging a bagful of dolls.



The river soaks open
a closed fist of paper:
If I don’t see, then I will know.

These remnants of a fever
dream shambling through
the wake of motion. Train sleepers
conjure a uniform and a man inside it,
the dustless margins of a platform.

His left hand is holding lace
to the water that spills
down his cheek, near the ear.



A song, a cloud, some lace.

In the heat of dreaming
a doll’s face emerges,
humming. The wires renew
their logic and the light
begins to flutter with the look
of polished water, as if
seen from a great height

a bridge far above
us and the eelgrass
bowing and bowing
in the endless current.



This work was published in the Coldnoon Cities (Mapping the Metropolis) Vol II, as part of the Coldnoon journal.


Tobias Peterson

Tobias Peterson

Tobias Peterson holds an MFA in Poetry from Texas State University.  His work has appeared in Analecta, A-pos-tro-phe, Dirt Press, The Gulf Coast Review, M Review, and Popmatters. He teaches at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.