Catherine Abbey Hodges:
“Glosa on Lines from Peter Everwine”


Glosa on Lines from Peter Everwine

In the vacant lot, a common thrush
picks his way through a maze of rubble,
searching for something to fill himself
before he sings.

Poet, you’re in the ground
and I’m wearing your vest
for luck, solace, magic . . .
for I don’t know what. So far
it’s working for warmth.
I can say that much
on this cold day at my desk,
all grey out the window, and inside
a dim winter hush.
In the vacant lot, a common thrush

pulls my gaze past the dusty pane
to where he flits and hops, intent.
He’s lively and precise.
How can he be so nimble
while I sit here dim as my room,
this dull morning’s double?
And just like that, here comes
envy—of a bird! A common bird
that, unconcerned with my muddle,
picks his way through a maze of rubble

(an odd place for a thrush, it seems
to me, though you’re the one who put
or found him there in your poem,
and he’s free to leave this one but hasn’t
yet). He’s absorbed in his work,
so far as I can tell—
flitting, hopping with a flare
of wing, flick of tail,
foraging without our help,
searching for something to fill himself

which is what I’ll need to do too,
though not yet. I’m not done with this
brimming emptiness.
Here in your vest, I’m full
of what’s gone, picking through what’s left,
listening for whatever will bring
whatever’s next. And now that bird
darts a glance straight at me, now
looks away, flares his wings
before he sings.


From In a Rind of Light (Stephen F. Austin State University Press 2020), reprinted here with permission of the press. First published in Miramar.


Catherine Abbey Hodges is the author of In a Rind of Light, published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press in February 2020 and available for order here. Her debut collection, Instead of Sadness, was selected by Dan Gerber as winner of the 2015 Barry Spacks Poetry Prize and published by Gunpowder Press, which also published her second book, Raft of Days. Catherine’s poems appear widely in venues including The Southern ReviewNarrative, Miramar, Atticus Review, Nimrod, Chicago Quarterly Review, SWWIM, and Verse Daily. She teaches English at Porterville College in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where her students keep her awake and inspired, and collaborates with musician and labyrinth-maker Rob Hodges. Learn more at her website.

You can hear Catherine Abbey Hodges read her poem here.

You can find other poems by Catherine Abbey Hodges on The Writer’s Almanac here.


Poets Note

It was my astonishing good fortune to have Peter Everwine as a mentor and friend in the final three years of his life, and his poems had been essential to me for many years before that. A look back through the drafts of “Glosa on Lines from Peter Everwine” reminds me that I found writing about his passing both necessary and impossible. After the initial two lines of the poem, which arrived in my first attempt as they appear in the published version, early drafts floundered this way and that. Discouraged by my lack of progress, I put the project away and spent time on other things: sorting laundry, arguing with the insurance company, rereading the poems in Peter’s 2016 letterpress chapbook A Small Clearing (from Aureole Press at the University of Toledo). “156 Main Street” from that collection held my attention, and when the final stanza suggested itself as a cabeza for a glosa, the poem was on its way. The demands of the form made for a puzzle of sorts that kept my sadness from derailing the poem and led to lines that surprised and satisfied me.


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