Effigy by Peter Laberge


                for Melisa Gregory & Steven Fisher
There was never enough
                evidence of color. The night
was an open mouth

                without a tongue, the dried
stump an instrument
                of secret. In the mind—

never enough wood, never enough
                stones to build the fire. It was
a forest that caught light

                only thanks to the moon
two families in black gathered
                to grieve beneath. Plain stunt

of the mouth, home to its senseless
                dark—sounds, footsteps strung
across the spring. This is why

                we no longer remember
which bodies in the dirt
                are our bodies in the dirt—

though still we may love
                even after laying, below
temperature & life, on the dewed steps

                of the trailer. Forever
aimless, months stir
                wildfires across the acres

one day we may have owned.


Peter LaBerge is the author of the chapbooks Makeshift Cathedral (YesYes Books, 2017) and Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). His work appears in Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets, Colorado Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Pleiades, Sixth Finch, and Southern Indiana Review, among others. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the Bucknell University Stadler Center for Poetry and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Adroit Journal. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania.