Literature 11-7-2006

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Todd Pederson

The new series begins! What Light presents a new poem every week by a Minnesota poet, chosen by a jury of writers, publishers, or editors, and sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers. Look for us every Tuesday.

Todd Pederson

These Shorter Days of Science Fiction

For Eric Neeno-Eckwall

Their voices upright on the knifepoint

of autumn—students, up-at-noon residence halls,

crowd loud stands of lit trees, whose brushwood—

like candlesmoke—sketch back & forth skylines

                                           across the quad.

Saturday’s ration of shadow bangs against the lawn,

its collapsing leaves the all-at-once vernacular I learn

                                           to speak.

Pendulate, they turn like concluding

pages to my Zelazny science fiction paperbacks,

whose fantastic incident I know word-by-word, yet

                                           even now

rehearse—the attractive spatter of seasonal unrest; a quick

declaration off this best-of-what-may-be-lef t weather;

& these spirited runabouts wearing the weekend’s expression,


for lunch—flyaway constellations, their popsongs

drifting through the long-armed circumference

                                           of my plum and orange afternoon.


For me, poetry is the response to what are often simple, yet commanding, occurrences—such as an affecting scene from a favorite movie. The most gratifying ideas are those that increase and reach, inexplicably, for one or more seemingly disparate elements of my life and draw them into the piece. In these moments, poetry surpasses a string of lines and stanzas written on a page; poetry becomes the medium through which I (perhaps, we) celebrate this life’s great joys, and overcome its disappointments.

Todd Pederson is a 2005 graduate of the Master of Business Communication program at St. Thomas University, and holds an undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota. He works as a technical writer for a biomedical corporation in Chaska and resides in Eden Prairie with his wife and two children, whom he thanks for their patience and inspiration. Recent works appear in Summit Avenue Review.