The Poetic Hill

Quintin Peterson is a local artist and critically acclaimed author of crime fiction. A retired DC police officer, he currently works at the Folger Shakespeare Library, which is the setting for his novella “Guarding Shakespeare.” His poems have been published in the Albatross Literary Magazine and in the poetry anthology “In a Different Light.” The poem below is taken from his first book of poetry, “Nativity,” in which he wrestles with themes of love, race, home, and “something diabolic in the air.”

Beauty in Decay

Saw a walking corpse today
Shaking violently as it fell prey
To the violent shaking that comes
From not taking to the skies
I knew her, once, during the time
When I believed that beauty never dies,
Long before the tracks marked her arms
The veins of red cracked her eyes
Yes, I did know her ... once
Baffling: how anything could make her
That way
Nothing is more heartbreaking
Than witnessing
A thing of beauty in decay

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