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About this poet

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.

At the Very Beginning

Katie Peterson

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 the names to colors,

who, confusing speaking and addition,
identifies with confidence the rain

soaked broad trunked redwood tree (whose
scent releases all of winter) saying as he passes one

From This One Tree by Katie Peterson. © 2006 reprinted by permission of New Issues Poetry & Prose.

From This One Tree by Katie Peterson. © 2006 reprinted by permission of New Issues Poetry & Prose.

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

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
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

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