Author Archives: Samantha Peterson

About Samantha Peterson

Samantha writes poems at a desk in Portland, sends great pen-pal packages, and goes by her full first name.

Three Poems – Samantha Peterson

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(Dis)mantle 

The arsonist could tell you every life
they shed in the fire—every one
since the first accelerant showed them 
how to loosen their skin and slip out 
before the neighbors noticed.

The arsonist could tell you that skin is a fleeting 
condition—a brief molecular arrangement your body 
tries on seven years at a time, a house you sometimes 
live in. They could flick their lighter against their knuckles
and say, “The trick to dealing in fire is to look entropy

in the eyes when you hold it.” Burning is a choice.
Choose to dismantle or not. Choose when to lay your 
skin out like tomorrow’s clothes, when to return it to ash.
A house is no different than skin and the arsonist is molting
into a body unbounded.

Whenever I imagine stepping out of my skin, of shrugging
off a year, seven years, I am still wearing skin, just thinner—
rice paper incarnadine. I am a husk peeled back to grow again 
while the arsonist’s fire licks the air at my forearms, bats its 
eyelashes, tells me where to find it next time I come looking.

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