Bio Note: My day job is teaching community college students to write. I also write and publish mystery novels and poetry despite the pandemic, college consolidations, and the incredible boredom of technology. My poet husband, my sweet Labrador, a passion for recipes, and long walks keep me (minimally) sane. Find me at www.laurelpeterson.com and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
It’s as if the car Charlene has always driven, her reliable Subaru, Honda, Volvo has suddenly not only lost its brakes and started careening wildly down a California canyon road, but also the steering is broken, the four doors automatically locked, the airbag detonated, white-powdering her and the three kids—that aren’t even hers— screaming in the backseat without their seat belts on— and come to think of it, she’s beltless too— and here comes the S-curve and no guardrail, and now there’s black ice and a moose and maybe a semi bearing down and then there she is, suspended in mid-air, waiting for the drop.
Joy-riding Past the Speed of Light,
Which Is Impossible, of Course
That escaped neutrino is zooming faster than lightspeed, trying to make it around the universe at least once before Mom calls him in for dinner. He knows he’s reckless at this velocity; he’s probably vaporizing but speed is addictive, and he loves the solar winds, the pull of dark matter, how when he makes a corner in the middle of blackness he leaves a faint trace. He likes flying through things the best— people, asteroid fields, the gasses that mass around stars. He zips through so swiftly they hardly notice him. He’s just an aberration in the force field, barely felt, and then he’s gone. And even if he’s the result of scientists’ miscalculations and a cable’s faulty connection, he’s happy in his world, separate from the rules that constrain, for the rest of us, imagination.
Dream Sequences: COVID
Last night I moved into a different house, a different self. The last one had a view out over a working harbor, Seattle? Helsinki? Hong Kong?, fishing boats chugging to their piers; this one needs its brickwork repointed and its wallboard repaired. Despite the closets of family treasures— reunion photos and feathered hats, a turquoise handbag with paste jewels, glittery coats and hand-painted china— the house might not be savable The world lies beyond the dream, fractured like dry wall, like old concrete, like boats with punctures or boas molting feathers. In the dream, I am but a watcher, just as in life where disease has slammed all doors shut, and we wait for the alarm to wake us.
©2021 Laurel Peterson
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