The 2River View 28.3 (Spring 2024)

Phyllis Peters


There’s that bedtime story of the bad angel frozen
to the waist in a lake, forever. Extenuating circumstances.
Give him a break. It’s like twisting someone’s arm
until they cry.

I’ve never really praised God, with his concealed carry,
dodging permits, doling out time so freely it clogs
up the universe. Then He withholds, just when
we’re about to get away with it, just when
distraction would have worked better, just when

the news breaks: Crying is not a clock.

Even when I was five, I felt eternity as the absence of measure.
That when the angel cries, he is trying to know

that he still exists, before damnation sets in,
before the future kicks down the door and starts
trashing the place all over again.



Do you recall how I lie?

The mug you placed on the table, squarely,
indifferent to my lust for hurling cups.
I bolt, remember. I threaten by text
to jump.

Yet “this is what there is, no more,” you said,
invoking cup, shards, phone, and goading ledge.

So little of what we sought:
The swelling sun will cool and rot,
whether I falter, curse, keep up, or not.

That star hurts me.

Phyllis Peters is a poet, author, and playwright whose work has placed and appeared in literary events and publications such as Columbia Journal, Colorado Review, and the Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival, among many others. Her work is represented by Maria Whelan at InkWell Management, New York.
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