Rhythm and Blues

Rhythm and Blues
John Casteen

I.    (1997)

That year the nights were full and fine
and myriad of stars.  Each afternoon let
crisp light fall across the rippled flanks
of sleeping Appaloosa mares, cloud-

dappled and lovely.  The mares’ bodies were
the Blue Ridge mountains.  The stars were
the woman I love.  This was my ever home,
& this poem was ambling around inside it.

And like a wave each evening broke
against a rain-lashed talus slope of sky.
In the soak, anything I say is a false
cognate.  You say my name into the night

that answers mute and darkly as a stone:
I believe in the power of the life of the body.


John Casteen is the author of For the Mountain Laurel (2011) and Free Union (2009), part of the VQR Poetry Series from The University of Georgia Press. His poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Best American Poetry.