Colin Cheney

Messier Catalog (Folk Music)

A golden delicious root

grazes the pressure-treated sill, the touch of a friend

you want to forget.


I want a harmony I can hold my part inside,
another’s voice steadying the mammalian

wiring fray in my brain.


Acoustic version and electric version:
dawn-cold maples, the nova’d
hay by the blossoming elderberry, sine wave

goldfinches by the Wilderness
Church and the doublewide crushed in the ice storm.


I’ve got an outdated model of the universe

I want to try out on you the next time

we’re together. I’ve drawn up the Muir web of what’s
sequestered in my fatty tissue.


I’m cataloguing the nebulae

cobwebbed in a tamarack alone in the field.
Many of them will be revealed as something else:

unresolved stars, island
universes, the blurry self—M31, M71—

at the field edge of vision that the least light

makes disappear.


Her voice does this, the strings oxidizing
a deciduous green under her
fretting hand, and the other hand.

It’s not that such a harmony isn’t possible.
I just can’t hear it.



 “Messier Catalog (Folk Music)” first appeared in The Wolf, Issue 24.