Peter LaBerge


I found the forest where I was allowed to hate
and I built my body inside it.

Evangelists say there were times like this.


Around the nearest town, I distribute
fliers saying things like this could matter one day.

They listen, the wood knots of my mind.


I call the body what it wills to be—a sack
of feathers, a shot of gin—

a sack of feathers, a mile of flight.




When I listen, I can hear
            what's left of this forest.

            This plank, this body I once wanted
to lakebottom. In the coldest months, I could see

through the thin lips of oaks. I owned
            this barren nape of neck.


                        I imagine glory as ending
                                    the winter of this world

with a single match. How righteous
            it must have been to make a body

work for all it's worth.


Snow falls, and snow
            rises, and what is white

                        is good as lost. Beneath the ice
            a different world is held. Do not be

fooled—the coal burning through
                        the snow is not the snow.




"Composition" and "Photo—" are from my chapbook Hook, just out from Sibling Rivalry Press. Both reflect on the scene of modern queer identity through the lens of the Matthew Shepard and Bobby Griffith stories.