Christabelle Peters



Twice now he has come to me.

He offers.
I counteroffer.
"Your miserable, dream-stained existence--as is."
"My blood-soaked right eye, freshly ripped from the lid."
He accepts.
I receive the laurel crown of duplicitous victory, and live on.

Ten more years.

He offers.
I counteroffer.
"Your sticky, sweaty, dream-filled sons--and their Pa."
"My very dreams--their essence and remembered beauty."
He accepts.
I again receive the laurel crown of dulpicitous victory, and live on.

How many more years?

This forced barter--this somnolent ambush
Does not suit me.
I'd rip his throat out if my reach could reach.

..........................Camus remains mute in this plague-
Mere stale ink on rotted tree bark. But
it helped me once.

His breath is the first I take when awakening,
The last I expire before sleep.
But what use for a mashed up eye-ball
And a jumble of night visions?

Perhaps the next time he'll tell.



Dropped stitch
Dipped concentration

Knitone pearlone knitone pearlone

Clicking ode to harmonious texture.
Lesson to the endless feminine:
Woman! Weave and hold and adorn--
to be adored.
Serene repetition I forgot to bear.

Dropped stitch
And look what opened there!
Glistening promise of girlhood's thigh.
Who knows where that could lead?

Make a left at the gates of Anaesthesia.
You'll see a big cold needle glinting off to your right.
They'll fix you up all right. You know
It's amazing what technology can do--
these days.

Dropped stitch
Yesterday's count was 13
passages bookmarked by overlapping flesh.
I found out.

Mansoora Hassan
Spiritual Journey Series, 1998
Mixed Media on canvas, 21in. x 28.5 in.
see more of Mansoora Hassan's work




Grey flat planes grasping up into tangled Netherlands (thighs)

Andean peasant's stock-in-trade (feet)

Neapolitan fried-dough delicacies (knees)

Saharan sandscape of dunes unfolding--silently echoing (hips)

The promise of a Greek taverna at dusk (belly)

Peace negotiations on the Gaza strip (breasts)

Tourist's first glimpse of the River Thames (shoulders)

Berbice river climbing a north passage to home (throat)

Coral reef off the Mayan coastline--sunken pirates and mermaids sharing story (mouth)

Moon-lit ceilidh in a County Durham glen (nose)

Berlins--East and West--before the collapsed wall (eyes)

Thistle storm hovering o'er the Outer Hebrides (hair)

Testament to middle passages 'cross the Atlantic--and back (back)



Bare snow embraces mountaintops,
holds stillness beyond hereafter.

Cool shadows lull me lightly, as,
trance-like, eternity beckons.

Yearning--sotto voce--
Hollow silence.

No death breathes softer than air.



Christabelle Peters was born in New Amsterdam, Guyana, and emigrated with her family, at the age of one, to London, England. She arrived in New York in early January of 1985 to attend graduate school for 2 years, but has stayed on, and even became a US citizen, without much fanfare, last year. Her love affair with language is life-long, and she has worked in the communications field--as a linguist, journalist, and media producer for many years. After 10 years of "wandering in the desert of prose," she is excited and relieved to be newly-returned to the fold of poets.

Published in Volume 2, Number 4, Fall 2001.