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About this Poem 

"Breakups are rough. Sometimes you don't get your stuff back." 
—Katie Peterson

Pleasure

I remembered what it was like,
knowing what you want to eat and then making it,
forgetting about the ending in the middle,
looking at the ocean for 
a long time without restlessness,
or with restlessness not inhabiting the joints,
sitting Indian style on a porch
overlooking that water, smooth like good cake frosting. 
And then I experienced it, falling so deeply
into the storyline, I laughed as soon as my character entered
the picture, humming the theme music even when I’d told myself
I wanted to be quiet by some freezing river
and never talk to anyone again. 
And I thought, now is the right time to cut up your shirt. 

Copyright © 2013 by Katie Peterson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 25, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Katie Peterson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 25, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson is the author of The Accounts (University of Chicago Press, 2013). She teaches at the University of California at Davis and lives in El Cerrito, California.

by this poet

poem

A picnic in the sequoias, light
filtered into planes, and the canopy
cut through. Fire raged in that place
one month ago. Since I’d been there,
I’d have to see it burning.
Nature of events to brush
against us like the leaves
of aspens brush against each
other in a grove full

2
poem

When I named you I was on the verge
of a discovery, I was accumulating

data, my condition was that of a person
sitting late at night in a yellowing kitchen

over steeping tea mumbling
as his wife remotely does the laundry.

My condition was that of a mathematician
who cannot put