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Even if It is not the Right Question
Kathleen Peterson

Even in winter, the wheel’s twelve spokes
attach to a line of pipe
whose purpose is to distribute water
to the absent alfalfa of the spring.
Grooved like a tire,
that conduit holds no softness
but rests now in a cold pillow of snow
which also holds
no softness, bearing the light weight
of three day freeze. Between me and it, barbed wire
strewn between two of many posts
in three rows with airy
clarity, hanging with a sense of floating
on currents of air that won’t give out. With a purpose,
even in winter, the near-invisibility
of those barbs staggered across what lies beyond and stops.
I don’t know how I feel about this.
When my hands see it they feel instantly dumb.
They have been given tasks they cannot do,
and no one knows
to tell them how to start. At least Jesus
made those he called his
breakfast, calling them from their boats
by name, by the Sea of Galilee in bright spring
before he told them how he lived
only to die only to live
only to go away again
and come back in a form no one could hold.

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