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.