“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone


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A deep and powerful explosion
woke my wife and me, like a tower
of sound it rose from the neighborhood
setting off car alarms. But in the morning
there was nothing, and there was nothing
in the news.
                      Then a ridiculously large beetle
crashed into me and clung
to me. And my undignified efforts
to remove it were useless. It clung
to me, and looked at me closely
while its segmented antennae
sniffed the air. We looked
into each others’ eyes.
A great pause came over the world.


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I miss you — trapped together though we are
        indoors all year — I dreamed
we disrobed each other — then a child
        entered the bedroom — hello! just floated eerily in
    there was some evil — in her gaze
you pulled on your pants — in another dream
        I reached for something — instead of the kittens
    I touched some awful claw — it woke me
I had fallen asleep — in the posture of one
        who wants to protect his heart


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Imagine setting out
on a months-long walk with just
basically your clothes on
he said, though he said it
very quietly,
you could only hear it
if you opened the book
he wrote about it

Then he walked along seaweedcovered
shores and saw
few if any creatures
creeping around in the rain
but his companions
at all times were the birds
about whom he said
very quietly,
that he trained them
by reciting his own poems
in a little tiny voice

And once in the middle
of absolute snowfall
he heard frozen thunder


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Alone in a foreign city
having a drink.
Missing you.
Nursing the drink for awhile.
I heard a familiar song
coming over the water.
I said what if we named
our baby Sonnet, later;
at the time you couldn’t hear me.
I sat on the dock
underneath vast gantries
and felt an antique crack
in my heart.
But I figured I would make it.

Appears in this issue

Matthew Rohrer is the author of The Sky Contains the Plans (Wave Books, 2020) & The Others (Wave Books, 2017), which was the winner of the 2017 Believer Book Award.

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