“Veraison” By Peter Kline

I didn’t know what I was feeling.
If I had changed

it was like the change of cancer,

flickering like a broken sign
in that first cell

while every other room in the vast metropolis
lay dark;

or like water
articulating into ice,

the gradually sudden something
cleaving to itself, away from itself,

requiring a different name
with a keener sound;

or like the prophet finally
limping down from the mountain,

edging along the zig-zag cliffs
and rock-shatter,

toward the starveling village there
and the rich and populous heartland beyond;

or like the pinprick flush
on the throat of the grape,

a subcutaneous shadow,
a chemical urge,

that rises to the cheeks and up to the forehead,
softening it

with the wisdom of sweetness,
saying to the animals, Eat me.

Peter Kline is the author of two poetry collections, Mirrorforms (Parlor Press/Free Verse Editions) and Deviants (Stephen F. Austin State University Press).  A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he has also received residency fellowships from the Amy Clampitt House and James Merrill House.  His poetry has appeared in PloughsharesPoetryTin House, and many other journals, as well as the Best New Poets series, the Verse Daily website, the Random House anthology of metrical poetry, Measure for Measure, and the Persea anthology of self-portrait poems, More Truly and More Strange.  Since 2012 he has directed the San Francisco literary reading series Bazaar Writers Salon.  He teaches writing at the University of San Francisco and Stanford University, and can be found online at www.peterklinepoetry.com.