Last Sunday Afternoon Before You Leave a Good Place to which You’ll Never Return by Gaylord Brewer


The sky still tender from night’s berating
wind, the gate slouched from the beating
it took and didn’t deserve. That sort of thing.
Church bell stupidly determined on
the lengthening hours, and the chickens,
who shit the same on Sunday as every other,
whose scripture is food—hard bread, soft cabbage,
broken corn if they can get it.

No nod to the world’s depredations,
no exhausting despair, nothing at all, not here,
of the calamity of love. No quick gestures
with the hands. Maybe just a single
image of a woman unmoving on a swing,
the headlights of a car that may never arrive.
Maybe a spell of wildflowers, tentatively identified
from the pocket where they died:
spotted rockrose, dusky dog-fennel, sage.
Pimpernel, cistus, and marigold.
But too you could have all the names wrong,
so maybe not even that, not even.


GAYLORD BREWER is a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, where he founded, and for more than 20 years edited, the journal Poems & Plays. His most recent book is the cookbook-memoir The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire (Stephen F. Austin, 2015). His tenth collection of poetry, Bird, Beast, & Flower, will be published by Negative Capability in 2017.