Peter Chapman Poetry

losing my skin

i'm no scientist, far
from it, but today i
conducted a simple experiment:
i sat in an old canvas chair
on my boat on the creek
like a low sentinel or steel dog
until the air got cold &
i could see the blue sky
no longer; chorophyl production
was shutting down & the butterflies
gathered for Brazil & the geese
pulled out bad feathers; i thought
the experiment should be called October
and i sat there and watched her go

a woman in a hospital gown, her hair
in a ponytail, walked into a pumpkin
patch holding her chin, orange light
everywhere, like candy, like new hope;
the light shifted & my skin sharpened in the
fading light of October

the barmaid who was pretty & heavy
watched me reading the hotsauce bottle
and said her lips were still chapped
from last week when her boyfriend
kissed her after eating homicide
hot wings in glen burnie; i thought i
should tell her about my experiment but
i laughed and went over & played a stevie ray song,
and thought about seasonal disorders
and the heavy strings stevie used
as he bent into little wing, and i thought
of the leaves ready to fall and felt the air again,
lifting my skin like butterflies leaving,
and i thought about the light, and the dark
and how you can't worry about it, you
can get the meaning anytime, like
illness or shadows, all that rustling
of a dying year, and my experiment
needed a control, to get a living art
from this wistful science of lists so
i stowed my chair and quit thinking

i closed my eyes to relieve the pressure
of watching, and stretched full-length
on the cushions i keep to soften the cockpit
seats and the best thing happened,
the very best most wonderful thing