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The Totality of Facts

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The laughing gull that flew behind the fencepost
and never came out was the beginning
and then a hand smaller than my hand covered Wisconsin
with a gesture for explanation.
In the afternoon there are pauses between the words
through which commas can grow like daisy fleabane.
A fish with an osprey in its back emerges from the Sound
and nothing can be learned by more analysis.
The book of her hair opens to its binding and I leaf through
the glorious pages of appreciation and that’s not all.
We could not have turned fast enough to catch
light and leftovers from so much of what happened:
the swift figures behind you like a planet’s dark
companion, ships entering and leaving the hall closet
the real and imagined between which is no difference.

Allan Peterson, "The Totality of Facts" from Fragile Acts. Copyright © 2012 by Allan Peterson.  Reprinted by permission of McSweeney’s Publishing.
Source: Fragile Acts (McSweeney's Publishing, 2012)
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The Totality of Facts

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  • Poet and visual artist Allan Peterson earned degrees at the Rhode Island School of Design, Southern Illinois University, and the Claremont Graduate School. His books of poetry include Anonymous Or (2002); All the Lavish in Common (2005), winner of the Juniper Poetry Prize; As Much As (2011); and Fragile Acts (2012), which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. His chapbooks include Assurances (2011) and Omnivore (2009). Peterson’s poetry is known for its wild logic and painterly effects. Marilyn McCabe, reviewing Peterson in Rattle, noted, “his poetic eye takes in the world, as we view a painting, not an orderly left to right, but a scan, a darting from one interesting element to another.”
     
    As a visual artist, Peterson has exhibited widely, including shows with the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts, the El Paso Museum of Art, and the New Orleans Academy of Art. His...

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