Rehearsal

By Sara Peters Sara Peters
I am walking through water with one of my sisters,
               the river banked with tiger lilies, the sun
like having a lemon juiced into your eye, our senile dog

ecstatic behind us,
              and I am yammering
about my discovery —

a chest deep pool, sentried by trees
              that caterpillars were killing
with their yearly carnival tents.

We reach then ruin the pool with oils and shampoos.
              We scrub too much skin
from our heels, then debate

whether to sunbathe naked:
              that is, who is hiding in the woods.
We joke so long and rough

the joke morphs, till we’re practicing for
              our future rapes:
we both have numbers that we know are up.

My sister’s ears are speared
              with porcupine quills and steel,
but she’s placed her straw hat carefully over her stomach.

As she talks I watch
              while dragonflies and other
less showy insects land

on her burning shoulders.
              The dragonflies present their stenciled wings.
I can’t remember what the others do.

My sister spits
              to clean each sunglass mirror.
She wants me to hear
 
how, when it happens,
              she’ll do this scream —
but when the scream comes it’s just like she’s opened
 
a shaken bottle of sparkling water:
              I am speechless only for the view
of   her throat’s cushioned corridor.
 
But when the scream ends her eyes
              have broken off from the rest of   her face.
She takes our green net bag full of oranges,
 
and slams it down on the baking rocks,
              beating the ground till the oranges soften
and streak the air with the smell of   their breaking.

Source: Poetry (February 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2013
 Sara  Peters

Biography

Sara Peters was born in Nova Scotia and was a 2010–2012 Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Her first book, 1996, will be published in April by House of Anansi Press.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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