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Peter Filkins

Facial Recognition


when they come for you

you will recognize them

by their vacant eyes

imprinted provinces

of residual fear


turned cold retaliation

harboring the just

barely sustained

conviction to deport

themselves as legal


witnesses who will attest

to the mother’s heaving

collateral sobs you cuffed

and the child the man

who knows you now


Peter Filkins has published four collections of poems, including The View We're Granted (Johns Hopkins 2012), winner of the Sheila Motton Best Book Award of the New England Poetry Club. His new book, Water / Music, will appear from Johns Hopkins in spring 2021. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Paris Review, The Common, Salmagundi, and The Hopkins Review. He teaches writing and literature at Bard College at Simon's Rock and translation at the main campus of Bard College.

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