Friday, May 20, 2005
The Antioch Review
In the current issue of The Antioch Review, there is a poem by Alessandra Lynch that is so striking in its voice that I want to share it (vol. 63, no. 2, Spring 2005, p. 316):
MY MOTHER RAISED ME TO BE A COWBOY
by Alessandra Lynch
Cause I was lonesome
for spur, dug
my naked heel
in glass. Cause I needed
clank, got my bones
thin and close to the hard world.
Cause I lost grasp of what was
former smoke, shifty ghost-foots, thready
past, gripped the visible
moon-horn, turned leathern face
to the old-cat sun, clutched
the rope, jerked on the boot and saddled quick.
My cattleprod cramped a shadow.
My gaunt rifle ready for damage.
Got used to sleeping in bad spaces
snowed-in with burlap.
Cause I was odd-eyed, hungered with wolves,
I yowling bristled yellow like prarie.
Cause I ached for the stars, palomino
went lame. Cause I had no thought
to cry home, memorized the swagger,
hip-twist, slow smile. And mostly
my quiet was scorched. And most of my whiskey
drunk fast. Most of my sundowns forgot--
Most of the staredowns stared off--
Most of the town killed to dust--
Most of the world smothered by hats--
Most tongues cut out--I spoke in grunts--
Most of the sky was mine.
Till the low hawk swung down.