Adieu / Gail Hosking



poems by

Gail Hosking

40 pages, ISBN: 978-1-59948-985-8, $13 (+ shipping)

 Release Date: February 27, 2024

The Advance Sale Discount price for this title has expired. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $17/book (which includes shipping & sales tax) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, 4416 Shea Lane, Mint Hill, NC 28227. 



Gail Hosking is the author of the memoir Snake’s Daughter: The Roads in and out of War and a collection of poems Retrieval. She holds an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars, has published 60 essays and 30 poems, with her work in six anthologies. Her writing has been nominated twice for a Pushcart, has been a finalist in several contests, and was seen as “Most Notable” in Best American Essays. She works and writes in upstate New York. Her latest project is a memoir about her mother’s military dependent’s life.

Gail Hosking’s Adieu is a moving and powerful exploration of grief, of loss, and of letting go as an inevitable part of life, of growth, and of claiming one’s future. It is a closely-observed, emotionally-honest chronicle of Hosking’s own experience, even as it provides guide, companionship, and comfort for readers walking through their own fire. Hosking’s gifts of vulnerability, deep wisdom, and expert poetic craft are on full display in this beautiful chapbook. ~Rahul Mehta, author Quarantine and Feeding the Ghosts


A poem in Gail Hosking’s new collection, Adieu, serves as touchstone and divining rod: “Nothing extraordinary and no dream sequence,/ just naked branches measuring the world…” And so it is in these raw, emotionally unflinching poems that chart the aftermath of divorce. There is pain and wreckage here, but also and always, a lyrical intelligence intent on finding new angles of light and possibility. ~Ralph Black

The Art of a Would-Be-Anniversary:
When Glue Won’t Stick


Just last night—you’d never guess—
I cut a picture of us down the middle,
glued you on one side of the paper,
me the other, then drew a circle
around each to prove we’re not
in the same universe anymore.

It didn’t seem like a strong enough border
so I took out a red crayon and made another
circle, finally needing black paint
to demonstrate a boundary. I used
my expensive pastels bought for this
serious work of understanding,
kept the finished product on the table
for days like one might need to recall
a dream that keeps fading. Like standing
at the end of a movie as the lights return
and someone filters through the popcorn
searching for a lost ring.



Wife Writes Husband a Final Letter


It is time to give up the language
of your side of the bed and what time
will you be home for dinner. The words
sit inside a chrysalis now
into clear gel, a sheltered state of before
and after. Metamorphosis:
It’s a predictable science.

Union’s history is life’s archive: invisible
ink written on bodies. A story of sky
and leaf changing. The risks of uncertainty.
Once nothing else mattered but
our caterpillar lives. Now, segment
by waving segment, we must find our way
through dissolving tissues, trust this amorphous
mess, each spin around a silken case.

We are as young as we will ever be.



At The End of a Day


I once had a home, a poet’s nest
a friend called it, on the 8th floor
high above the tiled roofs of my neighborhood,
where each night like a bird with folded wings
I fell on a quilt laid across my big black bed,
my past caught somewhere in another era
I had to leave behind. Things no longer needed
given away and memories stored
in the basement. Out the window I saw
swallows flying like the homeless
out a brick chimney, a dance of birds
choreographing flight across the evening
sky. I considered their repetition,
their flapping wings in the mixture,
the way they returned to the vertical channel
resting together at the end of a day
around a warm furnace pipe in a shelter
of kinship. The world down below faded
as the moon rose and the swallows ceased
their struggles and recovered strength
for the next day where I witnessed
their journey again with a sequence
of steps, a rhythm I could count on.


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