Dark, Deep Poetry Month Pick: “Rehearsal”

 

By Andrea MacPherson

My Poetry Month Choice: “Rehearsal” by Sara Peters

English blog Andrea Mac

There’s not much better than discovering a new writer you love.

I immediately fell in love when I read 1996, Sara Peters’ debut poetry collection.  Peters’ collection is about obsessions, in all their varying forms, ranging from sex, cruelty, childhood, and religion.  But the magic here is in her ability to surprise the reader’s expectations about these subjects–Peters does not shy away from darkness, instead examining, turning it over in her capable hands.   The result is haunting.

This is Peters’ debut, and I look forward to reading more of her work for years to come.

 

Rehearsal

I am walking through water with one of my sisters,

               the river banked with tiger lilies, the sun
like having a lemon juiced into your eye, our senile dog
ecstatic behind us,
              and I am yammering
about my discovery —
a chest deep pool, sentried by trees
              that caterpillars were killing
with their yearly carnival tents.
We reach then ruin the pool with oils and shampoos.
              We scrub too much skin
from our heels, then debate
whether to sunbathe naked:
              that is, who is hiding in the woods.
We joke so long and rough
the joke morphs, till we’re practicing for
              our future rapes:
we both have numbers that we know are up.
My sister’s ears are speared
              with porcupine quills and steel,
but she’s placed her straw hat carefully over her stomach.
As she talks I watch
              while dragonflies and other
less showy insects land
on her burning shoulders.
              The dragonflies present their stenciled wings.
I can’t remember what the others do.
My sister spits
              to clean each sunglass mirror.
She wants me to hear
how, when it happens,
              she’ll do this scream —
but when the scream comes it’s just like she’s opened
a shaken bottle of sparkling water:
              I am speechless only for the view
of   her throat’s cushioned corridor.
But when the scream ends her eyes
              have broken off from the rest of   her face.
She takes our green net bag full of oranges,
and slams it down on the baking rocks,
              beating the ground till the oranges soften
and streak the air with the smell of   their breaking.

~ Sara Peters

 

 

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