I Can’t Stop Imagining Your Death: 4 Poems by Matt Thomas

I’ve included an original photo of a wasp, taken in our pasture, that I think represents the theme of these poems Matt Thomas

I Can't Stop Imagining Your Death

Your ragged snores scoring the day losing seconds like
bright feathers shed onto black dirt
each breath snagged and restarted, stubborn as the planet's inertia
and yet yours is not a friction-less existence
so I worry, sure, but that’s not this, this is 
playing your absence, 
crying on cue tears that heat
the material of the present to impressionable goo
and stomping in the puddle of it. 
It's harmless, no big deal.
Sometimes I imagine your death.
I'm not prescient. It's nothing. I shouldn't have mentioned it.
It's just that in moments of transition, 
such as now, sun setting, estranging the house and your breathing, 
or when some unexpected light or cloud disfigures a familiar road
and causes me to become momentarily, startlingly, lost,
I imagine you dying.
No different than thrilling at the wind stirring dead leaves, 
everything going to play, to steady the staggering present.

What / Nothing

A photo
of dogs long gone
to look at it is to feel
the furred skin sled 
over fat and ribs
Dead dogs looking lively 
at the down on your cheek
what / nothing
your question / my answer
accidentally true.

When you stretch I feel the

shake of your daily climb 

up a use-shined ladder 

leant against my optimism

tousling the jangly suckers, 

buzzing my fruit, your wing noise 

a resined horse hair sigh

that the keeper is coming.

Self-Harm at the Outlet Mall

You are looking for a sundress.
And it occurs to me.

A wet footprint retreating 

between a dead chickadee and my sneaker, 
grass straightening to the light,
a calm spot in the chop 
of water rippling toward 
Old Navy, Lululemon, Ann Taylor. 

Not in the rain, after, 
in the steam of returning heat.

I’m glad to be here with you.
But this country is all teeth.  
I'm tempted to lie down next to the bird, 
tell time with it, 
be the guy who's fucks flew off, 
that the world walks wide around.

It’s obvious, despite the signage, 
that we are most real in the nose. 

I can’t be the only one 
carrying sad luck like a fidget toy, 
distracting my mind 
with motor commands 
while the world sucks the evidence 
of my being back up into the sky.

I don't want to give up on you, 
or finding your sundress,

I just have to believe 
that it’s normal to be tempted 
to cut a thin cold moment in the heat, 
to allow my eyes to catch rain, 
and despair 
that living won’t allow it.

Matt Thomas is a smallholder farmer. His poetry has appeared recently in Dunes Review and Bluepepper. He lives with his partner in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Share and Enjoy !