White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Kathleen Peirce
Kathleen Peirce's books of poetry are The Oval Hour (University of Iowa, 1999), Divided Touch, Divided Color (Windhover Press, 1995), Mercy (University of Pittsburgh, 1991), and The Ardors (Ausable Press, 2004). She has published widely, and her work has been supported by the NEA, The Whiting Foundation, and The Guggenheim Foundation. She teaches poetry in the MFA program at Texas State.

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Kathleen Peirce

Lion's Paw



When I thought it wouldn't touch me,

I closed. All the close words of others were

as the air about me, the others unaware what it meant

to be indrawn, appearing indrawn as mere

reflex: gasp, yawn. Still, being come toward

sank into me and held me forward

like a latch made of thought

opening on a dreamed room dreamed before, or

closing on bars before fur,

hinged by my feeling of remembering the weight of a tail,

undulant, singular behind the legs. Say lion's paw

and a foreleg lifts in the general mind,

the fore always before the hind. In one life, how many

ever do come toward, and if mine is a seashell, light and dark,


Kathleen Peirce

orange-banded and rippling, wet or not, a bright handspan, love itself,

if it would not, if it will not touch me, some take their being from nothing,

and some say all things do.


Kathleen Peirce

Impartial Theme



All day, the long-armed kite makers come toward.

Their thoughts have rustled high above tall domes,


and low below the curves. One wonders

what an eave is for. Evening arrives,


the wind dies lower, lower down.

Your tired arms in reposition, in repose,


let holding go. Let go; turn off the lamp

in baritone, and sigh the mind's fire out.


The window's up. Your sleep is in your room with you. Night

night. Now can the wild deer arrive, one-two, at windowside


on grass dried thicker, later than last year's. So late,

they stand behind the sounds like words their chewing makes,


two words repeated, floated into you

as joined, estranged, the crossbar of a life, your life

not yet arrived or understood.

Kathleen Peirce

Flying Epithalamium



To hold, to ward. We love your toehold toward

joy that floats, that feels loft

while the wings work hard, a work

that begets heights and distances, some cruel. 

It's true; the bottom of the sky is dirt. It will be good, flying,

to make the turns, seeing back to what you wanted and

where you started from; the egg engenders it. 

We understand you must begin by feeling you have long begun

in private, and have fallen, and have watched each other and your kind

fly forward, up and through, sky-held, to have had wings open in infinity, 

to be celebrated having, and to have. 

Kathleen Peirce

in Spring



Another mud dauber, more wasp-waisted


than a girl, has come in, on


spring's call, to window-walk


like things wake, up. In each begun again,


the getting-over is already blunt, denied,




like pain wakes, inside,


its absence wholly understood where, before,


its absence had been only partly realized: no rancor, no slander,


about as luscious as slenderness against a wall


of glass. Holy Spirit, come. Bring getting/giving over.

Copyright © Kathleen Peirce. White Whale Review, issue 8.1

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