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  • Physics and: I Do This, I Do That
  • Jeffrey W. Peterson (bio)


In two years of pee-wee football,    My son almost earns half a tackleA football Saturday in the 150 lb. weight class    Wearing #55 for the Patriots.The opposing team’s quarterback,    No taller than the pinstripe on the referee’s pants,Bellows like a boy, the same cadence,    Every play, hut one, hut two, hike, & drops backWith the snapped ball, & stumbles    With the snapped ball, as if he just saw death.My son is persistent, running wildly to tackle,    Capture, but I stop watching after two first downs;I can’t take my focus off that quarterback.    When he received the ball, he stumbled back.When Chuck was run over by a black Mercedes    In front of my eyes, I stumbled back,Unable to comprehend that much    Gut, fur, bone. Chuck, busted wide open.After the next snap, the quarterback scrambles    For the first time. The offense’s play busts,Allows my son to break D-Line responsibility & barely snag    The ankle of the QB in a Packers replica uni.It took that Packer 20 football seconds    To drag my son 10 regulation yards,But 55 never let go. He knew the definition    Of team, partners, brotherhood; he held onLike athletic tape. No one came: not 92, 56, or 42.    Why did no one come? When my boy finally reachedFor the second leg, the Packer squirmed free,    Ran for a touchdown. [End Page 765]

I Do This, I Do That

I move through smells of fried fish, $5.95& a man

      hawks shine up!        I step, dots of grey gum, salah,puddle of urine (it holds shape) begins to travel—perpendicular to. Incense paralyze nose; incensepaint tears. The nails on my toes are jagged& cut

    my toes, so tell myself a pair of lies:the blood is not blood, the blood is dark lint.A tan dog guards,all-seeing, alert & right.

        & Liberty gives 30% off taxeswhile store fronts, no back, sell purse & hat.Juice bar, juice bar, music icon ‘68-’12, run the cutsof Apollo and never get out.A man’s jacket blows up, just took off/just landed,black plastic floats in the wind, buy a cell phone,you need a cab, you need a cab,you need a door that’s not automatic in disguise.Sweet peanuts grit in your mouth,roof sweet as honey, honey sweet as organic.

            & blitz chessclick click, juke me if you’re running late,trash bag pillows surround cans. Massage my shouldersor pecs with bicep.

        Where’s the harm in Harlem.6 48 pm out here, vends pack up, load down hand trucks,toss the tarps, blast the gospel.Rolling gates suit as arthouse walls:hold the black bodies that hold the welt scarsthick as nonboneless fingers,but longer and mutilated, elatedthat we are sold & moving on up & shit. [End Page 766]

Jeffrey W. Peterson

Jeffrey W. Peterson was a 2011 fellow in the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets. He earned degrees from the University of West Georgia and Sarah Lawrence College. He currently serves as poetry editor for Madcap, a semiannual online journal.



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pp. 765-766
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