On the shoulder of St Jerome a bird
speaks but cannot write
and afraid of the past tense speaks prophecy
The saint is the bird’s way
of delivering messages but translation is difficult
god’s voice or not
and we have our own intentions adding a flourish
a guess at a thrush word
What will it matter It cannot read
Allan Peterson is the author of five books: Precarious, Fragile Acts, As Much As, All the Lavish in Common (2005 Juniper Prize), Anonymous Or (Defined Providence Prize), and multiple chapbooks, most recently Other Than They Seem, winner of the 2014 Snowbound Chapbook Prize from Tupelo Press.
“Translation” was originally published in Flight (TLR, Winter 2015).