Peter Weltner ~ Late Summer Storm in Early Winter

It’s a rainy, dark morning in the city. Smashed flat
by gusts against panes, plump drops dribble down
the windows, snaking like a lazy creek. A mat
of hay stubble is trapped by a ledge. Storm-blown
rose bush stems scratch the glass. The sea
surges higher. Restless, he’s brooding on a day
of a summer long past, glad for the rain. He
and a friend are idly walking their secret way
through woods to a brook hidden by brush and vine
where, naked, they’ll wade. A dawn’s storm’s an omen
of the day to come. Thunder, now as then,
mingles sweet loam with the sharp odor of pine
and leaves in July. Rain glazes his windows.
Two boys strip by a stream, sheltered by willows.

Years ago, lying beneath a roof, the rain loud
as hail on loose shingles, the deluge unpredicted,
hurricane-strength winds, alone, he was too proud,
but scared enough to pray. Yet an unexpected
thrill came from the torrent’s power, the storm bring-
ing a rapture he senses again this noon, see-
ing on the coast’s horizon black clouds gathering
with the force of a tidal wave, a looming tsunami.

In the park, fog dribbles mist on leaves that drip
like rain. He’s in Carolina hiking beneath pine
trees whose branches, thick with needles, keep
him safe. It’s one of those twilights when he’d skip
like a kid out of time if he could. If lives could align
as astrologers say stars do, it takes no great leap
between two ages to say he dwells in multiple
worlds. A fern tree’s fronds glisten in the wet
evening. As the wind blows harder, two lakes
in the western park form waves that ripple
toward grassy banks and tall reeds. It’s not regret
he feels but something stranger. Sometimes it takes
a storm to change him. He’s dissolving into rain.
It’s a winter’s day. It’s a summer that’s theirs again.


…From Late Summer Storm in Early Winter, with paintings and photographs by Galen Garwood, Marrowstone Press, Seattle, 2015


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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 Whats 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.



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