in case you were wondering

This Tuesday, I’m participating along with several other poets, in a reading called “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner,” which involves poems/poets that have won awards from the St. Louis Poetry Center in the past. I was lucky enough to win the 2013 Stanley Hanks Memorial Prize from the Center. Still one of the cooler things to happen to me. The editor of Big Muddy called to let me know she’d nominated me, and about a week later, I got a call to say I’d won. Not long after I got the award in the mail along with some really nice things Tony Hoagland had said about the poem. I was like, whoa.

So here’s “In Case You Were Wondering.” It’s a poem that’s made it around a few times. First it appeared in Big Muddy, and then in the St. Louis Poetry Center’s annual prizewinner’s chapbook. Later it was republished at The Good Men Project.  It also appears in my chapbook The Everyday Parade/Elegy for Sounds Forgotten as well as in Lessons in Ruin.  

It’s for my wife, in case you were wondering.

~ ~ ~

In Case You Were Wondering

what I was thinking
that blazing afternoon in August
when suddenly I put down
my book
and looked over at you leaning
elbows on the porch rail
fitter and wiser and infinitely
more patient
than when you were twenty-two.

I was overcome in that moment
with all you’d become
and I wondered if you felt the same
way about me
and my heap of books
on blind bluesmen and manners
in 17th century France
or if you secretly liked me
better when I was younger
and spoke in that big
foolish beer voice
that carried and made people laugh
two rooms over
and I tried in all sincerity
to hunt the wild turkey
armed only with a laundry sack
and the charm of all the things
I didn’t know.