Who Touches Everything

ISBN 978-0-9859468-2-1  

by Peter Waldor

True to its title, Peter Waldor's Who Touches Everything is a book of connections. From the click of an infant's lips to hermits living in adjacent caves, from "where a Mafioso/ left those terrible/ plastic bags . . ." to the first woman "to row the Atlantic," these spare and hard-edged poems are as rich in wisdom as they are in imagery. Who Touches Everything is a rewarding book.

Peter Waldor is the author of DOOR TO A NOISY ROOM (Alice James Books), which was a finalist for the 2009 National Jewish Book Award, and THE WILDERNESS POETRY OF WU XING (Pinyon Publishing). His book-length poem LEG PAINT appeared in the on-line magazine Mudlark. His work has appeared in many journals, including the American Poetry ReviewPloughshares, the Iowa Review, the Colorado ReviewPoetry DailyVerse Daily and Mothering Magazine. Waldor works in the insurance business and lives in northern New Jersey.

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Excerpts from Who Touches Everything

Excerpts from Who Touches Everything

On No

Marxist that he is
Ngugi wa Thiong'o
must laugh at us
for all our brands
of toilet paper. 
Our baby Gabriel
has both hands
on the end of one
roll and he looks
up with curiosity. 
I say no three
times, he says no 
and smiles--I shout no
and he shouts nono
as he pulls out
the whole roll
which falls into
an airy mountain
all the way to his waist; 
still useable, soft as snow
which is its name,
not like the toilet paper
Ngugi wrote his novel on
in prison, fifty years ago.

_________________________________

Climate Change

Because we love one another
and because it is cold
and we are both scared,
and because we walked out
of a cloud, my son and I
hold hands on the ridge
off Vermillion Peak.

Every time we think this is it, 
it's just rock from here on up--
one more pink windmill
in the thin-aired wind--
another alpine phlox,
each summer reaching higher--
a curse on my children.

_________________________________

Heart

At Trout Heaven
we give a trout
to a young man to gut,
and after slicing head,
tail and thumbing
out the organs,
he places the heart
on the counter
for my children;
a pea-size lump
until he sprinkles
water on it
and it beats again,
bouncing
on the stainless steel,
water squeezing
through the valves.
The young man
looks up to accept
my children's laughter,
but they look as if
they see something
that should not be seen
and the young man
flicks the heart
in the trash.

_________________________________

Spare Button

I appreciated
the spare button
sewn in my pants,
but in the end
it was too heavy
to carry. I could
have snipped it
and placed it
in a jar of buttons,
polished like rocks
in a tumbler.
A baby, 
unwatched,
reaches in
and comes up
with doubloons
overflowing.
The button facing
out would have
been enough.
With threads
crossing in a great
intersection,
it withstood a thousand
doings and undoings.
I did not snip
the spare button. 
It weighed on me.