Eight kinds of mist in this country,
forest mist and mist ankle-deep in pastures;
the mist that climbs like curls of smoke
above the valley turning blue at dusk
the mist that hangs three stories high in woods.
In the morning, the moisture soaks into the violins
like subjectivity, and throws them out of tune,
so the noontime hour is full of the squeaking
that accompanies correction,
and I remember how my wife would cry sometimes
after making love,
_ _ and how we painted the back porch
_ _matching shades of blue.
And then I didn’t love her anymore,
for which I will never get what I deserve.
Now someone on the lawn is playing that old tune,
“In The Foggy Foggy Dew”
and you know the song was written long
before the fiddler was born, but he plays it slow, and slow,
and the pennywhistle, shrill, comes in
like joy with a crack in it,
and the drum begins to make the case for Fate
but the grass in the song is still soaking wet
and the girl walking home in the misty morn
is still in love,
and doesn’t care that she has ruined her shoes.
Tony Hoagland is an American poet. His most recent collection of poems, What Narcissism Means To Me, is from Graywolf Press. His next book, Unincorporated Persons In The Late Honda Dynasty, will be published in January 2010. He’s received many awards for writing, including the Jackson Poetry Prize, the OB Hardisson Award, the Mark Twain Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches in the writing program at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson low residency program. In 2005 his book of essays about poetry and craft, called Real Sofistakashun, was published by Graywolf. (updated 7/2009)