I’ve been writing since I was eight, despite being told that I shouldn’t. Writing revealed too much. This is why I tell my students they should never be afraid to put the truth on the page. I’m a community college English professor, who alternately loves and despairs of her students. I’ve written lots of different things—newspaper columns, academic stuff, poems (including two chapbooks and a forthcoming full-length collection) and a couple of mystery novels, one of which will be published this spring by Barking Rain Press. I have the very great pleasure of serving the town of Norwalk, Connecticut, as its poet laureate. At this very moment, my dog is sniffing through my trash for a draft of something to chew on. My website: www.laurelpeterson.com
Because a person has to start somewhere—
so sometimes being nicknamed Zero means you’re someone,
even if it feels more as if you’re an absence, a giant hole
never to be filled—because what could fill it?
Gravel or dirt as around a coffin, or Styrofoam squiggles
as in a package, or the vast emptiness that fills the day on Mars.
You can only hope that nothing doesn’t mean empty
or impossible or untethered: Take, for instance,
the long distance ardor of a binary star, like MY Camelopardalis,
where the stars are so close that, even if they seem light years apart
and totally wrong for each other, their gravitational love will eventually bind them
into one monstrous O, which is actually something rather than nothing,
a presence rather than an absence, like zero, which by its presence leaves all else whole.
© 2017 Laurel Peterson
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