my father-in-law says, nodding.
We’re speculating again
about what’s wrong,
why rivers of lava are coursing
under the crust of your skin.
It’s autoimmune, the body’s friendly
fire, or not. A tick borne illness
until it isn’t. Still, we nod,
we who have never agreed on
what direction a country should take,
the state of our state. Only you.
That you deserve this world,
even this worst version of it,
the kind that agrees to disagree
until there is nothing left
but the ash in our mouths,
the blood that binds one tree
to another, what saps from
each name carved into
the bark of us.
Gus Peterson lives in Maine, where he serves on the board of the Maine Poets Society. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming with Bracken, Rust + Moth, Pirene’s Fountain, Panoply, and the Deep Water series edited by Megan Grumbling.