Winterberries; California Avenue; & The Oilers




I’m sorry says the doctor with his finger inside me. I’m sorry says my shimmering body. Green penny. Sunlit fish. The lights gallop inside from wherever they went. The only way forward is through. And the only way through is prayer. Fine. Each morning the night’s prayer waits upside down in the kitchen fishbowl. Inside me the winterberries are probably colon-bound. My body screaming stop into the loudspeaker. The diagnosis uses his clean hand to point to his mouth in the soundproof studio. He reads bible verses while eating his box lunch. Monday. Tuesday. See how the test remains positive? See the family of gray letters gathering in the secure PDF for warmth? If snow is hope above ground, there are months of light flurries: January. February. Roads puckering. March. I resist the urge to clench. I let the two men of the body tinker. That artist and his god. Dry musk and sterile scent filling the chipped mouths of the pottery wheels. Sky kissing the setting sun gently on the forehead before whispering Good night. Don’t go says my body. Though the body needs sleep. The winterberries blink their eyes open as soon as the bedroom door closes, little terrors erupting through the snow.


Peter LaBerge is the author of the chapbooks Makeshift Cathedral (YesYes Books, 2017) and Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). His poetry has received a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. LaBerge received his MFA from New York University, where he studied as a Writers in the Public Schools Fellow. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Adroit Journal.