The Small Gods

by Allan Peterson

It is sometimes only a matter of mentioning the jewels,
the mockingbird’s gold eye, the toad’s,
the skins beaded and gem-cut like goannas and pangolins,
and especially diamondbacks.
Isn’t that what we’re talking about, how the simplest glitters
like treasure, like a crown,
how the innocent holds a key to what we call paradise
which is not exotic, but so ordinary
we miss it encrusted on a leaf or stuck to the sidewalk.
Here even the small gods get a chance,
and when I found one I called to Frances in sequins,
well rain drops, to watch the cicada,
or she calls me to the owl in the red cedar, the two shoes
eyeing each other by the bed,
the weave glistening heavenly out of plain materials.