Sydney Goggins
Taking Sorrow to Task

I begin with praise. For years you wouldn’t
take back the snow I asked to last.

If asked, I would have been sure
you were never as loud as leaves

whispering in wind, and never as certain
of earth as a place to dwell. I believed

you had other favorites, as far as worlds were concerned,
but I think it was you and not the other experts

who dyed my sunsets pink and ground
the clouds at dusk to a powder, indigo dark.

You pretended your names were
in textbooks only to warn us, not to instruct

or demand obedience. Not to remind me
your mathematics are simple, your radius

crossing a wood whose gravel path goes green
at the centered clearing—a path we followed

and followed and follow still, to where
your echo fades, as no other music can.

Sydney Goggins is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she works as a graduate research assistant. She has served on the editorial staff of Natural Bridge and has worked as a writing center consultant.