Peter LaBerge


Peter LaBerge is the author of the chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015), recently included on the American Library Association’s Over the Rainbow List. His work appears in Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets 2014, Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Pleiades, and Washington Square Review, among others. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the Bucknell University Stadler Center for Poetry, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Adroit Journal. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania.


Smoking Magnum, 1991

for Stacy Dillon

Cleveland, Tennessee: unmoving boy
and unrecovered gun. The silver

mouth of the .44, the chrome-plated
lip, the handle stained the color

of churchwood. 1991, down history’s throat
like a pill he might swallow to see

the beauty in girls. He fired
his lover’s name into the sky, stars

knocked out and strewn like teeth: one
beneath an end table, one behind

the bloodied couch. The unholy bullet
left his lover’s gun, knowing

it was to enter through the softness
of his cheek. Cleveland: no more

than a faceless boy and a body full of bone.

This poem is part of a manuscript entitled Makeshift Cathedral that aims to create a space of memoriam for individuals across the spectrum of gender and sexual identities who have been failed by the justice system and law enforcement.