'Paul Bowles'

Poet Katie Peterson
Poet Katie Peterson
This poem by Katie Peterson appears in her book A Piece of Good News. Peterson's honors include the Howard Mumford Jones Prize, the New Issues Poetry Prize, and the Rilke Prize.

He wanted them to give him money. He asked
for a massive tape machine
to collect the music of Morocco.
The book got made into a movie.
When I watched it, I saw a breast,
the first in my life that didn’t
belong to my family. In the Central
Valley, my husband teaches
his students. Husband,
a word from the Normans.
Younger than the word wife.
This morning we had to borrow money.
It made me want to say
to him, “Did you know
the things you’d have to do
if you came to my country?”
What kind of traveler are you?
Oppositional. I want what I didn’t have
before. Today I want my husband
to come home in the middle
of the day and sit here
at the kitchen table
and act like nothing bad could be
for very long. Tea in the Sahara,
a china cup with a spray
of pink rosebud importing
a strange and unacknowledged humidity
into the windswept scene.
Sand sediments in the saucer.
They wanted to do that in the novel.
In times like these, no one asks for sugar.

Excerpted from A Piece of Good News: Poems by Katie Peterson. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux February 26, 2019. © 2019 by Katie Peterson. All rights reserved.