Listening to Townes Van Zandt
We are of one mind
and too much has not been said
about all the quiet afternoons
childhood offered us,
lit gray like a cat, or blue,
and cursed with an early moon.
When father wore an apron
or crept like a bear, we screamed.
Nothing is so gone.
Where is his record player
or the channel that forked
a distant year toward us,
kind, slow magnet?
There was a song we shared
without your listening,
you widowed soul crawling away on your elbows.
I sing it to my child, with a full hand I
flick its rapeseeds everywhere,
clear, and slow,
with all the sincerity its author indeed felt
in his ten-gallon hat
and his thin, whisky-soaked shirt.
Copyright © 2017 by Christine Gosnay
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Christine Gosnay is the founding editor of The Cossack Review. Her work has been published in Poetry, Redivider, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Sixth Finch, Sugar House Review, Juked, The Rumpus, and other magazines. She lives in California and is at work on a translation of the poetry of Maurice Maeterlinck.
Winner of the 2016 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
“The poems in Even Years speak with a voice that animates and astonishes us as they delineate and explore, trace and explode, the ‘order of shapes in the light’—the order of words, of moments in a life, of shifts in perspective between the ‘cleave and / Cleave’ of language. In these piercing and evocative poems we see, as in the poems of Stevens and Dickinson, ‘The back of the eye / where it has been struck by all things’ (‘N-gram’).”
“lf you seek poetry that takes pleasure in the world, here it is in bounty: ‘the mind likes to see the broadening of what was slim.’ Christine Gosnay spots the small-faced daisy among the grass, the dream before it vanishes. Her poems glow against the dark, bright stars constellating a heaven of her own making.”
—D. A. Powell