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Peter Mason


“I have built myself/a safer body, covered the rot with rot. Sometimes I can hear that little/boy//I tucked away”

— Teacher’s Pet, Hieu Minh Nguyen

For Arkansas


What might grow from this

half-mound of piled rot, orchard of almost


dead   blooming mouth of mine

that failed   pills,   monoxide,   god, 


the prayer   a wound dug

so often   I feel small


and with too little spine   how soft

my own voice pulls to earth


to ask what good is this single life

I have come to cherish   in moments


this skin loves itself   for every failure

of an end I am truly grateful   now


I am so far from the edge of this country

there is no water I cannot see across


the winter here is nothing deep enough

to lull the dark   which is to say, everything,

I hope, is becoming okay   some days

all I have left is what?   I have survived

and some days that is enough

Peter Mason.png

Peter Mason is a Bi+ poet from Rochester, NY currently living in the Twin Cities area. He is a finalist for the 2022 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, a recipient of the inaugural C.D. Wright/Academy of American Poets Prize, and an Artists 360 Grant from the Mid America Arts Alliance. He earned his MFA at the University of Arkansas, where he served as the Development Director and Assistant Poetry Editor of The Arkansas International, and Development Director for the Open Mouth Literary Center. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Magazine, AGNI, Ninth Letter, Booth,Vinyl Poetry & Prose, The Journal, and elsewhere.

Bear Review


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