Paulann Petersen is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University whose poems have appeared in many publications including Poetry, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, and Wilderness Magazine. She has four chapbooks--Under the Sign of a Neon Wolf, The Animal Bride, Fabrication, and The Hermaphrodite Flower. Her first full-length collection of poems, The Wild Awake, was published by Confluence Press in 2002. A second,Blood-Silk, poems about Turkey, was published by Quiet Lion Press of Portland in 2004. A Bride of Narrow Escape was published by Cloudbank Books as part of its Northwest Poetry Series in 2006. Her latest book is Kindle, published by Mountains and Rivers Press in 2008.
I rub my shoulder
against a doorframe’s wood,
getting the feel of this creature
felled and transformed.
My fingers curve to knead blood
toward a muscle’s hurt, lotion
into an elbow roughened by neglect.
Snubbing shoes, I let bare soles
with the wear of pavement’s grit.
Clothes serve the modest task
of long, soft friction.
Bit by bit, night by day,
I grow smoother-grained,
ready for light. Let me be
a mirror in which something else
might catch a glimpse of itself—
the burnished stone beneath
a lifetime of water, flowing.
From Kindle, Mountains and Rivers Press, 2008