Christine Gosnay

Purgatoria

In the middle of my life

I walked into a warm club on a cold night.

The road outside was dark and iced.

 

The earth’s lip sighed after wet.

While I walked the street

I lay aside my voice to brighten my chest.

 

The freezing air filled me up like stems in a vase

and got its little fingers on my thighs.

With so little light in this world

 

it was no surprise to learn that I had died.

In the warm club, this was best. 

I’d always had my drink, now I had my disguise.

 

Everyone there was flat and relaxed. 

They all decided what to want, 

what to need, very early in their lives. 

 

Without feeling jealous of them 

I examined my new sort of mind. 

Without looking or even trying, 

 

I found I knew how to turn away

from the rising sun without regret, 

to ignore the shaggy cows

 

in their sheaved reams of grass. 

Meaning nothing, I saw, the orbs 

made from birds at dawn shaded left

 

and right before the blushing hills.

Meaning nothing, but seeming

to sweep the middle sky clean,

 

the hills fixed to burst with first desire, 

the orbs to grow from a secret orchard

between the eye and the crest. 

 

I so briefly told what I knew.

But I always remembered what I saw.

My buttons caught against the bricks

 

as I pushed into smaller and smaller spaces. 

If my guide is here, I seek him. 

There are some boasts I’d like to make.

Christine Gosnay.jpg

 

 

Christine Gosnay's first book Even Years (Kent State University Press, 2017) won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2020, POETRY, Image Journal, I, The Missouri Review, The Poetry Review, and Ecotone and has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Her chapbook, The Wanderer, was the 2019 title in Beloit Poetry Journal's Chad Walsh Chapbook series. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, and has a website at thewritechristine.com.