a poem by Anna Gosman

The Primitive Light in Worn Pictures
After Jay Hopler’s “The Light One Finds in Baby Pictures”

Life was simple once—

Which might be boring if not so easy.  It’s not so dreadful
To have an uncomplicated childhood.  It’s just after noon

And the light on the vast farm with road’s end
Is like that light one finds in antiquated pictures: fading

And shadowed and primitive—



When every field and farmhouse lead to the same
Name, we call it Family and tell ourselves that

We live by and work with and trust simply them.  Who’s
To say we can’t?



The ashen light has changed to fog.
The picture—.  No, the clan is hazy.



That’s you—, the child running through soybeans with a net
And bug box; behind you, grandfather’s long shadow

Driving the rusted International, dragging the baler
By sinkholes, where twisted metal and decomposing livestock are thrown.

The rain is moving east—.  Some cousin has sprayed ESCAPE
On the “Danger” sign by the sunken crater.


Anna Gosman is the administrator of the Christian Academy of Madison, a Prek-12th grade private school in Madison, Indiana, where she also teaches a dual-credit senior English class.  She obtained a bachelor’s degree in English education from Cedarville University and a Master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Liberty University.  She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. from the University of the Cumberlands in leadership with a focus in English.  Born and raised in New Hampshire, Anna now writes from a family farm in Southern Indiana, where she lives with her husband, three daughters, and four other Gosman families.