Peter Leight


I’m opening the windows
and listening to open up the windows and let the bad air out,
opening my hands and spreading my fingers like the branches of an asterisk,
I’m going to leave
before I need to,
not even asking if it’s a good time,
it doesn’t need to be far away:
I don’t want you to think I’m looking for an impediment.
Taking everything out of my pockets
to make room for everything
I’m putting in my pockets,
not even staying as long
as I need to,
as in a picture
I’m not even in.
Not breaking out,
that’s not what I mean,
it’s not a shipment
you break into small shipments
that are easier to ship,
or a line break where you continue on to the next line,
as if it’s not even broken.
The other day I was shaving my head
when I sliced it open
like a puncture
that isn’t even a blowout,
I think I’m going to leave
when I don’t even need to,
as in a room
that starts to withdraw or disappear,
like the history of a room.
It doesn’t have to be far away
because I know I won’t stay.


Personal Improvement

The pebbly discs in my back click like gears
that stick then slide into place,
my skin is clearing up—
no this actually happened,
my skin is so soft my friend says ooh or ah,
leaning forward and touching my arm the way you rub velvet with the tips of your fingers
first one way
then the other,
if it’s not worse
isn’t it getting better?
Recently I’ve noticed that my nails have a silvery sheen or glossy appearance
that is entirely natural,
I’m brushing on some dark green enamel
that reminds me of a forest
I need to stay out of,
which of us isn’t a survivor?
Opening my eyes
and keeping them open—
honestly it changes the way you look at things,
I mean it’s important to help yourself
as long as it’s not too much trouble:
sometimes it helps just to think about what you’re going to help with,
it’s getting better
as long as it’s not any worse,
Growth is change but of course
change isn’t always growth,
as in a clinic where you take your seat along the wall
and wait for them to let you in:
sometimes it helps just to think about the things you don’t even need help with.
When I’m looking for a place to stay
I lift my hands
and touch the tips of my fingers
together like a roof
that’s slanted and pointed at the top:
there’s room for just about anything up there.


Peter Leight's poems have appeared in Paris Review, AGNI, FIELD, Beloit Poetry Review, Raritan, Matter, and elsewhere. “Personal Improvement” first appeared in the Summerset Review.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap