Jeffrey Perkins: "Map of Atonement"

Here's a poem from my friend Jeffrey Perkins. We met in the peace education community here in Cambridge, but he found that he could best say what he wanted to say through the peacefully exacting work of poetry. His works often blend irony, humor, and pathos. This one is "Map of Atonement," published at the Tupelo Quarterly.
Back then, Sara invited the artists
for rum-spiked punch. I brought
a lover with his colossal German nose.

I almost forgot how they adored him.
How he built a cartilage between us—
Instructing the guests in an essential trick

of how to tip go-go boys. Now, a church
strikes ten, but sounds like twenty.
Unreliable time. I was a fickle lover—

ungrateful. I’m sorry little cosmos
of misters. Alphabets of horse, squirrel.
May you love one another deeply soon.

Climb those attic stairs and look down.
What do you see when I think of you—
do you see the wasps? Their yellow.


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