I attended Tom Sexton’s reading in Lowell MA the other day. He was visiting town for his high school reunion. I made sure to attend because we published Tom way back in 1987, in our third issue. Tom agreed to let me republish the poem from that issue here:
ON THE NENANA RIVER
No path led from the cabin
to a clearing
or to an abandoned garden.
Inside a sour smell,
slivers of bone, a shrew’s skull,
bits of fur.
On the sill of the single window
placed to catch the light
a mason jar of water from the glacial river,
above the silt
a bud of light as epitaph:
I made this water pure and then departed.
Sexton has done well for himself since then. His third book of poetry was published by Salmon Poetry, and the book I bought at the reading, titled A Clock With No Hands (Adastra Press, 2007), features his hometown Lowell. Many in attendance at the reading recognized characters and places from the Lowell of his childhood. I was happy that he inscribed the book as follows: “For Richard: Who was there for me at the beginning.” I’m hoping that he sends two unpublished poems that he read at the reading for ALBATROSS #20: they were beautiful!