Eight kinds of mist in this country,
forest mist and mist ankle-deep in pastures;
the mist that climbs like curls of smoke
above the valley turning blue at dusk
the mist that hangs three stories high in woods.
In the morning, the moisture soaks into the violins
like subjectivity, and throws them out of tune,
so the noontime hour is full of the squeaking
that accompanies correction,
and I remember how my wife would cry sometimes
after making love,
and how we painted the back porch
matching shades of blue.
And then I didn’t love her anymore,
for which I will never get what I deserve.
Now someone on the lawn is playing that old tune,
“In The Foggy Foggy Dew”
and you know the song was written long
before the fiddler was born, but he plays it slow, and slow,
and the pennywhistle, shrill, comes in
like joy with a crack in it,
and the drum begins to make the case for Fate
but the grass in the song is still soaking wet
and the girl walking home in the misty morn
is still in love,
and doesn’t care that she has ruined her shoes.
Tony Hoagland has poems currently in Crazy Horse magazine and Nerve.com, an on-line magazine. He is at work on a collection of prose about poetry, titled Real Sofistikashun, and in August joins the writing faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. (2001)