Listening to Townes Van Zandt

Christine Gosnay

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.

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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’).”
—Angie Estes

“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

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