poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Peter Montgomery



At Congressional Cemetery,
where I walk and the dog runs,
we smell breakfast and wonder.

There are no restaurants near,
only houses, and none could account
for the scent of bacon
overtaking the fragrance of blossoms.

Unleashed to run free,
the dog is giddy cavorting,
running hard amidst death,
wide space made safe by its gated wall.

As we near the back fence it hits me—
breakfast is cooking
in the jail next door,
men locked in their cells
sharing the smell of bacon
that floats to us free as air.


Peter Montgomery's article on Randall Jarrell's tenure as Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress appeared in Beltway Poetry's US Poets Laureate issue in Fall 2009. His poem "Back Home" was selected, along with a watercolor by DC artist Frederick Nunley, for the juried "Poetic Art" show at the Lorton Arts Foundation. In 2009, after more than two decades working for national progressive nonprofit organizations, he became a freelancer and consultant, in part to devote more time to creative writing. He continues to write for People For the American Way Foundation as a senior fellow.


Published in Volume 11, Number 4, Fall 2010.


To read more by this author:
Peter Montgomery on Randall Jarrell: US Poets Laureate Issue
Peter Montgomery on Eugene McCarthy: Poetic Ancestors Issue