Kate Peper


Kate Peper is a freelance designer and award-winning watercolor painter living in Marin County, California. Her poems have twice been nominated for a Pushcart and have appeared in the Cimarron Review, Lindenwood Review, Poet Lore, Quiddity, Rattle, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Spillway, and others. peperprojects.com


The Weight of a Bridge

made so much heavier by pigeon shit,
the slow acretion and stink of it all.
Generations of bland-eyed birds
with softly fluorescent wings fanning
as they alighted, shat, cooed.

Nobody guessed they could crush a bridge
over time, or how the brass balls of the Wall Street Bull
would be so shiny from all the years of hands touching,
the testicles some totem of luck or fortune
made smaller year by year

the way our great love was reduced
to that last day we met by the Mississippi.
Spring, the Russian olives mad with perfume.
The moment you said over
was when the dead dog came into focus,
draped over the rock in the river, hair worn off,
skin obsidian, lapped by water.

I love to see how disperate images can be unified in a poem. I also love poems that combine sadness or pain with humor.

For years, I had been pondering the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis (where I’m from originally), the gleaming testicles on the Wall Street Bull, the dead dog and the end of my first relationship.This dog in the Mississippi was very near the bridge that would collapse several decades later. These images were in other poems until they all came to live here, in this poem.