Our featured poet in the spring issue of West is John Spaulding. Spaulding’s The White Train was chosen by Henry Taylor for the 2004 National Poetry Series. He is the author also of The Roses of Starvation (1987), Walking in Stone (1989), and Hospital (2011). His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Hunger Mountain, Rattle, Nimrod and many other periodicals. Below is the first poem of his West feature.
To Rose Brodell
by John Spaulding
Today I thought of you, fast woman of Tucson,
near where you slept with coyotes howling
in your dreams. Near where you walked the desert
with your brown hair blowing all night and the church
turned black against the burning mountain.
You have been gone too long. I have
seen your white fingers snap chicken bones
your beautiful lips suck marrow from the night.
I have watched you dance until my face hardened
in the wind. Mine is an old family. Our tree
is full of hanged Apaches–their hair
sweeps the ground where we walk.
And none of us have many years left.
But you have been gone a long long time.
Just today I thought of you, fast woman of Tucson.