Issue 35, Final Fringe

Two poems from a sonnet sequence on Hitchcock films

by Peter Swanson Issue 31 08.06.2012

The Farmer’s Wife

I’ve known what chairs I’d like to sit in
All my life. I’ve known what fields
I’d like to farm. I watch that stony man
And know that sowing only yields

According to the weather. For some
Our lives are wintertime and heated bricks.
Hard ground and fallow cribs. I’ve come
This far without a man. I’m fixed—

A woman with an income and some use.
My back is straight, my Bible thumbed.
I’m held in high regard by Dartmoor’s

Finest men. The women, if they choose,
May compliment my roasts. My hair is tamed.
My hands, at night, are pinioned by the stars.

The Manxman

We fell in love through windowpanes.
I went from penniless to flush with money.
Our wedding day was sealed by ocean rain.
The mills of God grind slowly, slowly.

I plucked her past my crooked threshold.
Her bones were light as birds’.
Her wedding whites were starched and cold.
There was no blood. There were no words.

The mills of God grind slowly, slowly.
The storm climbed north along the coast.
Our happiness was someone else’s empty house.

She stared through smoky glass toward the sea.
She knelt and prayed she was a ghost.
She gave me everything I’ve ever lost.

Peter  Swanson

Peter Swanson

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Peter Swanson’s poems, stories and reviews have appeared in such journals as The Atlantic, Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Lyric, Measure, Notre Dame Review, Slant Magazine, The Vocabula Review, and Yankee Magazine. He has earned degrees in creative writing, education, and literature from Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College. He lives with his wife and cat in Somerville, Massachusetts, and is currently completing a sonnet sequence on all 53 feature films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.