Adam Waking

By Katie Peterson b. 1974 Katie Peterson
We chose this animal to be our pet.
His indifference allowed us to sleep.

Cat, who made your ears bend back,
who made you lazy as quick?

Who made you work?
It is a wonder any sun is left.

Still it is always so abrupt.
Sleep like an umbrella going up,

clumsy like a broken umbrella coming down,
this waking, and into what?

I did not ask to be afraid.
I did not ask for pleasure, but there it was,

it exfoliated at its own leisure,
grew until it was all that was—

The brief interruption of who I am
interrupts and punctuates the day

I always assumed that I would share—
Cat who cut the sun down from the sky

and then responsible put it up again?
There must be one of us that you prefer.

Katie Peterson, "Adam Waking" from This One Tree. Copyright © 2006 by Katie Peterson.  Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press.

Source: This One Tree (New Issues Press, 2006)

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Poet Katie Peterson b. 1974

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Relationships, Home Life, Pets

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

 Katie  Peterson


Born in Menlo Park, California, poet Katie Peterson earned a BA at Stanford University and a PhD at Harvard University, where her dissertation, “Supposed Person: Emily Dickinson and the Selflessness of Poetry,” won the Howard Mumford Jones Prize. She is the author of the poetry collections This One Tree (2006), which was awarded the New Issues Poetry Prize by judge William Olson, Permission (2013), and The Accounts (2013), which . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life, Pets

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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