Mary Peelen


Mary Peelen lives in San Francisco. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Bennington Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, The Massachusetts Review, Antioch Review, and elsewhere.



If beauty can be salvaged,
it must.

Headache coming on early,
I stand in the dark and

trim the damaged tulips,
plunging stems

like knives into the
cut glass vase by the sink.

The countertop is marble,
exquisitely geologic—

perfection was attainable
in the Paleozoic age.

I bend at the knee,
turn my head to the side,

and slowly, I apply
my pulsing temporal vein

to the mausoleum stone,
smooth and cool as logic.

It’s time that strands us here.
We wait for it. It takes so long.

One morning, my coffee was taking ages to brew, and I thought about how migraine distorts my sense of time. It’s hard to reconcile the way life flits by in an instant, while pain goes on forever.