Their bark a tarnished green, their leaves silvered
by fog, the trees in the park shudder in the wind.
Waiting for a bus, a bedraggled old man winds
his watch, looks up. He must be elsewhere soon.
The pleasure that passed earlier this dawn between
you and me touches me in the bracing air.
So memory stares back from the world as night
turns into day, dream into all that’s heard and seen.
Over hills, the sun rises in mist, fills the sky
with a quiet gleam, chalky white like clouds.
Breathing its last, a gull nests in a bed of sand.
Its eyes are dull gray. High tide wets its feathers.
As all it is is being denied, it lifts its beak
but makes no cry, eats what bread it’s offered.
from The Outerlands, BrickHouse Books, 2012
Peter Weltner has published six books of fiction, including The Risk of His Music and How the Body Prays, and, in 2017, The Return of What’s Been Lost, five poetry chapbooks, among them The One-Winged Body and Water’s Eye (both in collaboration with the artist Galen Garwood), and six full length collections of poetry, News from the World at My Birth: A History, The Outerlands, To the Final Cinder, Stone Altars, Late Summer Storm in Early Winter (with photographs and paintings by Galen Garwood), and most recently The Light of the Sun Become Sea. He and his husband live in San Francisco by the ocean.
Danse Macabre is proud to name Peter Weltner our 2017 Artist-in-Residence. May our dedicated Macabristas delight in his wondrous poetics in both DM and DM du Jour throughout the year – and heartfelt thanks to Peter for his generosity in sharing his artistry with us.