Evan Goldstein

Litany in April

“The prayers of all good people are good.”—Willa Cather, My Antonia


The cold draft from the windowsill dark is good.

The morning is good and the sunlight

is good. You, waking, are good, and the sleep

in your eyes is good. The coffee is hot

and the microwave is loud, and that

is good. The dog, beside you

studying the ground, and you beside it,

studying the grass, are good. The smoke

that vapors from the pipe on your roof

into the gray sky is good. The churches

are empty, the playgrounds bordered

with police tape. Recorded bells chime

the hour, the chalk fades into the sidewalk.

You bury people in good dirt. The price of gold

and houses was good. Your job was good

the shopping cart with the broken wheel

you dragged to the ravine was good, and your clothes

inside it were good. The coffee can that held

the coals was good. The forest was good

and the fire was good, the city burned good.

In the Walmart parking lot you put up good

sturdy tents, and the food you shared

was good. The war was good, and their deaths

were good. The words were good

so the nation was good.

Your kindness was good, your anger

is good. You were singing on the downtown bus

in the clear noon light, and your leg dragged

behind you like a shadow, and you were good.

You are home with the small, golden hours of the day

where the light suspended in the dust shines good.

Out in the street with a million others, working in the dark

you sweat good: You simmer in the dawn.

Evan Goldstein is a writer and photographer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He will be attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for an MFA in poetry in fall 2020. Evan grew up in the Hudson Valley: He misses trees, corner delis, humid summers, New York City, and John Prine.