Poetry by Matthew Woodman
Your February, terminal,
the declination indisputable.
Snows have smothered valley to skull,
plains to a wind-worn clavicle.
We’ve assembled the prosthetic ravens,
we’ve gathered the inflatable wolves.
We’ve salted the roads.
We’ve filed the graven
prescription with every potential self-
appointed defender of home and hearth.
(Turns to face the camera).
We face a dearth
of basal metabolic rates: the heart
is a Famine Moon.
One must face death
as though the soul were a low pressure front
brought to bear on the waiting room, the shunt.
Solemn in the Moon Somewhere Tonight
--after John Berryman
Brothers and sisters, we are gathered here
at the foot of this gaze, to bear witness.
To vanish, to disappear
into the night is to close the distance
between the luminiferous ether
and the optic nerve.
Friends, the inherent
energy of the vacuum is greater
The song is transparent
yet weighs more than the tongue.
How can this be?
(Leaves the podium and begins pacing
Is death the admission fee?
Or are we just parolees exchanging
the chains of one sea for another?
What does it mean to sing, if not to wonder?
Matthew Woodman teaches writing at California State University, Bakersfield and is an editor at Rabid Oak. His poems and stories appear or are forthcoming in Sonora Review, Tishman Review, Oxidant/Engine, S/WORD, Sierra Nevada Review, and Oblong. More of his writing can be found at www.matthewwoodman.com.