Poem: Matthew Smart

Blackbird Near Reeds in Snow, Bessho, ca. 1900

All It Takes Is Substance to Reveal

There’s a movie about the 4th dimension
and all they talk about is weather effects.

Hooray for tomorrow, chant the cynics
of today. There’s really no way to go wrong.

Batteries hold agony in their charges.
Like orphanages full of screaming suns.
What lights the lights?

Roughshod over my nervous system
rides the evening’s tidal drag.
I toss and surf in the chop currents.

The lever, the pulley, the wheel and axle.
Where is the simple machine for despair?
Do we lift its weight, or simply shift it?

We all cheer and covet. What is beautiful
is really what we have access to.
Even the ugly starlets have stalkers.

Light a fire, and something burns.
I suggest that thing, over there.

Snow builds strange mountains in the yard.
Winter winds see all our hidden contours,

Drifts sketch shadows of the more solid things.
All it takes is substance to reveal.
Matthew Smart lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with his wife and four children, where he works as an information technology analyst. In his evenings he writes poetry, fiction, and computer code. His work has recently appeared in Vestal Review, Rawboned, and Smokelong Quarterly.

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