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TWO POEMS by Airea D. Matthews

SEXTON TEXTS ON INDEPENDENCE DAY Sat. July 3, 8:14 am (1/2) Because there was no other place I went home away from the scene of crazy-making senses came back before dawn in heavy July Sat. July 3, 8:15 am (2/2) my purse wide, thighs wet keys set down bedroom bound where one child also sleeps.

SEXTON TEXTS ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

                                                                         Sat. July 3, 8:14 am
                                                       (1/2) Because there was no other place
                                                       I went home
                                                       away from the scene of crazy-making senses
                                                       came back before dawn
                                                       in heavy July

                                                       Sat. July 3, 8:15 am
                                                       (2/2) my purse wide, thighs wet
                                                       keys set down
                                                       bedroom bound
                                                       where one child also sleeps.
                                                       Tiptoed as if a strange thief.
                                                       Thought of my blotted out x’s—
                                                       for this is the mind’s prison
                                                       not a playground

Sat. July 3, 10:31 am
Sorry. Fell asleep reading Rimbaud.
Same dress from the night before
once I would have thought nothing 
of this. Today I feel like Gomer before
Hosea chose her. Maybe I will conjure 
Jezebel or Tamar through the oracle.
They were thrown into 
Hell, too

                                                                         Sat., July 3, 10:45 am
                                                       I am rarely alone
                                                       but the children, those little muses,
                                                       have left to wander.
                                                       Recall my dream now:
                                                       dead deer mice in the garage,
                                                       albino possums, ancient doors

Sat., July 3, 11:15 am
If I draw my blinds tightly
enough sunlight loiters
smoky dust 
begs to be let in 
like a Maine Coon in Brooklyn,
outside double panes,
in the throes of heat

                                                                          Mon., July 4, 7:23 am
                                                       Morning. Ants run errands.
                                                       My kitchen floor finds them
                                                       second-line marching to crumbs
                                                       tri-sected bodies shouldering 
                                                       scraps twice their size, 
                                                       such scattered strength!


Mon., July 4, 7:52 am
(2/2) Gather or Scatter: ants are 
Titans, Atlas, sky vaulters! 
I made that up,
but do you get it?

Mon., July 4, 7:51 am
(1/2)Foragers are dumb muscles
packing meal lumps
fallen from some child’s 
grubby hands, not even for themselves.
Long live the queen! Nobles eat
well & often.  Social orders exist 
in every world on every back

                                                                          Thurs, Aug. 1, 10:49 am
                                                       (2/2) Her son rides up and down 
                                                       my cul-de-sac to drown out 
                                                       his mother’s yell. He waves to me.
                                                       A package comes. I must sign. . .

Thurs, Aug. 1, 11:01 am
My fingers still smell like 
last night’s spent seed.
I wonder if he 
has washed me off.
Watercolor, 
Watercolor

                                                                         Thurs, Aug, 1, 10:47 am
                                                       (1/2) a distant droning, 
                                                       it’s all grizzled buzz
                                                       one neighbor lives in his shed
                                                       sawing wood for a project he won’t finish.
                                                       Outside, a Jamaican lady screams
                                                       to her estranged lover, “I don’t know you!
                                                       Ya’ come to m’door everyday beggin’.”

Fri, Aug. 2, 12:01 am
A lifetime of such small reminders
A lifetime of blotted outs coming 
on or in. This fucking hunger! 
This fucking!

                                                                         Fri, Aug. 2, 12:07 am
                                                       Should have gone to live 
                                                       in Amsterdam 
                                                       and had mixed-up, kinky-haired babies


Fri, Aug. 2, 12:15 am
Strangers would call you ‘mammy’
for taking your tiny joys public.
This is the small life with long days in it
& nothing to force clock hands closer

                                                                         Fri, Aug 2, 6:41 am
                                                       (2/2) around the block.
                                                       Faces not plumped
                                                       or juvedermed or botoxed, yet
                                                       all that holds back a soul?
                                                       skeleton squeezed under 
                                                       wrinkling corsets

                                                                          Fri, Aug 2, 6:39 am
                                                       (1/2) Every here
                                                       same old crows,
                                                       same ruined perches.
                                                       Crones with young lovers
                                                       and that man who drags 
                                                       his dull wife’s fat dog
                                                       while he jogs




 SEXTON TEXTS DURING POLAR VORTEX

                                                                          Thurs., Jan. 19, 3:18 pm
                                                       “Let us eat air, rock, coal, iron. 
                                                       Turn, my hungers.”-Rimbaud

Thurs., Jan. 19, 4:01 pm
Meanwhile, I’m trying. God knows. 
But mother unearthed each small 
bloodmain under her gauzed wrists.
She fought a strange compulsion
to press her mouth against her 
right pulse, taste the throbbing
veiny eels her crooked lovers forsook
drink from blind lakes of their leaving,
undo their digging

                                                                          Thurs., Jan. 19, 4:32 pm
                                                       (1/2)brick ledge, 
                                                       scarp fault
                                                       no matter how much silt
                                                       I packed into the hole,
                                                       no matter...

                                                                          Thurs., Jan. 19, 4:33 pm
                                                       (2/2) Trenches never fill
                                                       never unslope
                                                       else they cease being
                                                       soldier’s shallow shelter

Sat., Jan. 21, 7:17 am
Ice storms, splintering
crystals, of course.  Today,
everything wheels and 
bone touch,
every slick black 
lies under rock 
salt

                                                                          Sat., Jan. 21, 8:01 am
                                                       (1/5) Every day, my father fell six 
                                                       feet into a vat of tar. Burned 
                                                       his neck, ankles, veins. We
                                                       saw his viscous shoeprints
                                                       blanched blisters and salve.  
                                                       Hours after, when
                                                       he touched any door-
                                                       knob, steam rose
                                                       from the brass.  

                                                                          Sat., Jan. 21, 8:03 am
                                                       (3/5) Recall he wanted 
                                                       to go home, 
                                                       meaning, maybe, 

                                                                          Sat., Jan. 21, 8:02 am
                                                       (2/5) He died for the last time
                                                       on a Monday, or Tuesday or 
                                                       Wednesday or was it Thursday or
                                                       Friday?

                                                                          Sat., Jan. 21, 8:06 am
                                                       (5/5) point is: he died 
                                                       at some point 
                                                       during some week 

                                                                          Sat., Jan. 21, 8:05 am
                                                       (4/5) back to tar streets






 

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About Airea D. Matthews

Airea D. Matthews
Airea D. Matthews is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow. She is currently a lecturer of English at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she earned her MFA, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2015, The Missouri Review, The Baffler, Callaloo, Indiana Review, WSQ, Kinfolks and Muzzle. Matthews' fiction and essays appear in SLAB, Vinyl, Michigan Quarterly Review and Vida: Her Kind. She is the co-executive editor of The Offing, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books.