is a cat which stalks the back alleys
of the heart.
is melted wax on fingertips.
is the moment of impact when a brick
hits a pane of glass, but before the shards.
is sometimes resisted, but never
the temptation to be tempted.
is a night watchman asleep.
is a frigate carrying spices from the orient
sunk just before port.
is the reflection of the horizon
in a glass sphere.
is the point where the shadow of a chimney
changes to the shadow of the smoke.
is a new box of crayons.
is best when it doesn’t have to be hidden,
and worst when acted upon.
Despite the pain dandelions
are still picked
the golden flowers
that they are prizes without
mama had a baby
But weeds are just plants
where they don’t belong
grass in the bed flowers in the grass
head popped off
reaped until every
dried crown is blown
each chin is rubbed
yellow you love
butter you love butter you love
Bone and Rag Man
I never noticed how tender the lining was
until the silver-white, breathing bone
poked through and accused me of neglect,
the splintered tip drooling marrow.
The unattached slivers of thigh bone
drew themselves upright, and stood
upon the table, where they carved initials
into the wood. They asked if visitations
could be made to the mandible,
with whom they had a bone to pick.
The lining was torn at the seams,
and I searched for a needle and thread
to sew myself back up. Bone makes
nice needles. Bone slides through lining,
but there was more inside, looking to escape.
Sinew and stuffing, blood and feces.
No thread though. I had the nerve
to pull apart the lining a little, to look
inside, to dig. To pick at globules
of lard, wondering if catgut
were hard to produce. How many miles
would I be worth?
Bone laughed and spit. To mend
I’d need a better tailor. There was sawdust
in my lap, straw tickled my intestines.
Leaning back, I placed my head
in the crook of elbow glass. Flame-light
rose in the East.
She stood like Oscar Wilde speechless
within the cherry orchard, and blossoms
lilted down as if her liberated voice
had become a slayer of moths
and roamed the sky above us, hunting.
Hunger was expected where she
was raised, stone and cinderblock
were trees. Flowers were torn
from wallpaper and hoarded.
The only wind she’d known had carried rocks.
The snow of petals covered unearthed
roots; she stepped with care. Some things
were alike from that world to this, or close
enough to provoke reminiscence:
Robin replaced pigeon, cloud replaced fog.
Her quiet replaced a voice.
She dug for worms, she caught a fish
and then cleaned and ate it. We taught her
how to pick meat from the cheeks,
and fry over open flame. At night
the noise sometimes caught her,
the cooing of raccoons, or thunder
undeadened by tent fabric, which
widened her eyes and raced her heart.
I guess her shrewd wit was blunted
by the wind in the grass and the distance
of the horizon. Could a stand
of hemlock become a Reading Gaol?
Would I have felt unlocked in her home?
Matthew Smart lives in a part of Michigan often overlooked by amateur cartographers. By day he works as an information technology analyst. In his evenings he writes poetry, fiction, and computer code. His writing has appeared in Vestal Review, Rawboned, Smokelong Quarterly and elsewhere.