Letters to Minnehaha Creek: XII by Victoria Peterson-Hilleque

Here is a small prairie on 5th
Avenue. Grass and wildflowers

hold off concrete and buses
with their dried clothes.

I do not know
the name of this feeling:

Is it longing or ecstasy?
I want to say to Dorothy,
Here’s something
we missed.

She once said I am
 going to miss me.

A honey colored squirrel
glides by full

of brown mystery.


Do you feel the pound
of copper pipes pressed

into your skin, or the sparks
of the soldering iron?

Do you have a shield?
Tree roots dangle down

from the stump,
a dismembered hand

running its fingers
through your hair.

I cross the bridge under the diagonal
tree, stay on the path.

I would like to gather
you around me like a warm

blanket but you cannot chase
the chill from my bones.

Can you feel your own mystery?


Snowflakes fall
intermittently. Past

Martin Luther King Park,
the Peterbilt truck

carries sod and a Bobcat
puts grass along the sound

barrier.  I watch for a place
to warm up and rest.

El Paradisio Mexican
Restaurant is here, but

I do not have money.
I cross over the freeway,

stop, press my forehead
against the chain-link fence.

Something in me rushes away
at the speed of the cars—

lost before I name it.

Victoria Peterson-Hilleque
Victoria_Peterson_Hilleque-Letters_to_Minnehaha_CreekVictoria Peterson-Hilleque’s poems appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly, Paper Nautilus, Apeiron Review, and other journals. She’s the Poet-In-Residence at Solomon’s Porch Church where she has taught a poetry workshop.