Peter Leight


Hunting for what we need, we work back from what we don’t have, as if the desire is a searchlight looking for something to shine on. Or is it the kind of sensitive light that only shines when there’s something to see? Is this what you mean by a “difference of opinion?” Desire is often mine or yours, not ours—not everybody has the same desires, not all the time, it’s practically the essence of shopping. It is usually better to say “I think so.” When we’re young we hunt to feel older, then we hunt because everybody does. Then we hunt because we need to. We’re keeping our eyes open—it is often the case that you don’t notice something until you point it out to yourself. The light is restless, as if it has its own desire. Or is it desire that suppresses the light, disappearing in the order in which it appears desirable in the first place? Is this what you mean by “making up your mind?” Sometimes I think we give too much weight to our desires, and we don’t even know where the resistance is going to come from—it takes all our strength just to give in to the weakness.


At times I’m closer,

then you are,

as if we’re taking turns,

right now we’re close enough to stop paying attention.

When you turn

I turn the same way,

I’m going to start carrying around one of those cool telescopes that opens up by pulling out of itself,

because it lets you see how far away you are

from what you’re close to.

Right now I think you’re not as close as I am,

not as close as I am to you,

it isn’t the same distance on both sides, as if it’s a talk show or other show we’re watching together

but not in the same room.

Sometimes it’s better to wait for somebody else to go first—

I often wait for you

while you’re waiting for me,

do you think it’s normal?

Of course, there are times when you’re close to something you don’t even notice,

it depends on what you need

or what you like:

what you need to like—

I don’t want you to feel distant, like a person in the rear of a large auditorium.

We often place our hands on top of each other like a layer cake

with nothing between the layers,

as if we’re closer than we think,

when you ask for something I’m going to hand it over right away,

without even thinking,

I’m going to tell you to take what you want,

is there anything else you want me to admit?

I’m showing you the undersides of my wrists

so you’ll see I’m serious,

you often feel closer than something that is actually close to me,

closer and closer,

like a close up:

it brings to mind the sostenuto pedal that keeps one part where it is while the other moves on.

I’m not ignoring the erosion of trust that isn’t meant to last,

not at all,

when you stick in your earrings I feel the posts,

sometimes I think we’re close enough to see our own reflections on the curved screens of our eyeballs,

close enough to move away from each other.

If you come any closer I’m going to ask you to leave.

After the War

After the war winds up After the war’s wrapped up After the war is done with it nobody else is going to want it After the war chews it up nobody knows what to do with it After the war movie opens up After the war pops up on the screen there isn’t anything else to look for After the war it’s the burial business the business of shadows After you recover After the parades After the war parties After the war is over nobody knows what happened to it After the war packs it up nobody bothers to take it out After you never recover After the war wraps it up nobody knows where to look for it It’s the same after the war winds up
Peter Leight lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has previously published poems in Paris Review, AGNI, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, FIELD, and other magazines.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.