Peter LaBerge


First, the bedsheets unlearn
the language of each body
I’ve ever loved. The bed
bucking shadows like rodeo clowns.
The lungs stable in their nest
of cordwood until the wind blows
the whole house down. The panels
of sun, softer than silk. It does not come
quickly, my mother says, learning
how to unravel somebody else. The unzip
of a dress godly intimate, how a jet
can expose the bare neck of this afternoon sky
with just a flick of the wings—
first the shoulders, then the spine.
The pin and the wheel.

The Lakeswept

After the night’s flirting, I drive away
from the lake I filled with men.
Still the rocks bed together in the spindle
of the dark, still the lake’s cold is in my ear.
In the backstroke of the night I hear only
the song of the lakeswept—as if by entering
my body, it turns to sediment. I am still
so cold to this morning’s touch, but could
never be dead. In fact I grow each time
a man steals his shadow from the river,
and the river echoes like the emptying jar it is.

Peter LaBerge is the author of the chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). His work appears in Beloit Poetry Journal, Redivider, Copper Nickel, Best New Poets 2014, DIAGRAM, and Indiana Review, among others. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is a student at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal.