Peter Kline


The ice bin clacks;
candles runnel their bottle sconces.

Friends waft in blinking, smiling over
the props of conviviality,

lime gin and pussy willow.
Fog turns the city to figment.

Good-time synth on the box
persuasively soft,

and the high and shag and prink and all
in a wobbly disco-spin.

Olive oil and onion,
denim and skin.

Everyone is delicious.
Everyone is accounted for

but the absentee.
It’s easy to see

him: he makes gaps
where the talk won’t go,

troubling it
as it flows around him.

Some speak and a place is made. The rest

There he is on the fire escape—
laughing in another language.

Peter Kline’s poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, Poetry, Antioch Review, and other journals, and has been anthologized twice in the Best New Poets series and online at From the Fishouse.  He is the recipient of a 2008-2010 Wallace Stegner Fellowship and the 2010 Morton Marr Poetry Prize from Southwest Review.  His first collection of poems, Deviants, is forthcoming in the fall of 2013 from Stephen F. Austin State University Press.