I read this poem on the Rattlecast Open Mic this Easter Sunday, and thought I would go ahead and share it with you all here. ALSO, if you haven’t signed up for the monthly newsletter for Red Sweater Press yet, please do! I’ll be sending out more fresh poems that way *exclusively* starting May 1st, as well as links to my blog posts here, pub news, upcoming events, and an Author of the Month feature. The Red Sweater Letter will be your “one-stop shop” for all the writerly happenings in my life and beyond, so make sure you get it!
Now, without further ado…
John Prine Aubade
What I remember most about you,
of course, is your music, how
it was a little too “old school” for me
once I hit adolescence. But
I still cherish how you got my
parents singing, “In Spite of Ourselves,”
from separate rooms, until they
inevitably came together to say,
against all odds, honey we’re
the big door prize.
I was five when that song came out,
and too young to realize how
important it was.
Only Dad sang “Fish and Whistle”
and sometimes “Dear John,” while
Mom waited for Deana Carter
to shuffle ’round in the CD changer
with “Strawberry Wine” or
“Did I Shave My Legs For This?”
because in my memory, we always
listened to them together (even though,
for once, they didn’t need to compromise).
I say “we,” but “country-folk” was
never my genre of choice.
Ah, the night of my youth,
a slow, angsty burn to the dawn
of adulthood, where I awake
to learn of your passing, just
before Passover. I almost expect
your grave to be empty on Good
Friday, as if you inadvertently
jumped the gun to your death
with this unexpected virus,
in order to rise on the third day,
whether Easter had arrived or not —
after all, wouldn’t it make for a good song?
I suppose we’ll have to settle for a poem
written by a daughter born with your words
in her mouth, and your own lyrical legacy
that has us singing along, in spite of ourselves.
Copyright © 2020, Caitlin M.S. Buxbaum