I’ve seen the lowest
sunlight’s amber lips
brush up the redwood’s neck.
A sentence occurred to me
that isn’t true: hours
ago, my mother died.
I was thinking in the clearing
of what to call the feeling:
someday, I will be more sad
than I have ever been.
But maybe it’s worse now.
I am smug in my heart.
I’m admiring how fierce the press
of observation is. I will fold in
on myself, knowing I did not prepare
in soft ways for grief, that I kept
myself hard, never putting aside
a letter tied with rosemary in the drawer.
Until I remember,
I will go on to forget.
The candlepan makes faith with its spilling ward.
Some years into the future,
I have a porch lined with planters
filled with ugly vixen blossoms,
seeded to receive glittering visitors
by my older hand. I’ve made arrangements
for the loneliest moment of my life.
Christine Gosnay’s first book, Even Years (Kent State University Press, 2017), won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, and her chapbook The Wanderer is the 2019 title in Beloit Poetry Journal’s Chad Walsh Chapbook Series. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, AGNI, Image Journal, Ecotone, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere, and have been featured at Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. She lives in California. (updated 4/2020)