Audio: Read by the author.
What blossoms now
in my abdomen? The absence of growth
a prayer I hold onto and it seems strange
to want something inside to die this much,
strange to want something else to live, strange
to change under the supervision of self-care,
self-help, some version of platinum
leaking into my veins until anything cold
makes me buzz like a generator
on fire. A woman paraphrases the first three steps:
I can’t do this; god can; I think I’ll let him;
and I work to let go but some days
I just repeat like a mockingbird:
I can’t do this; I can’t do this;
I can’t. Here is a friend who’s been sober
for three years. I don’t know
if he believes in god but he is angelic
in the way he returns and rides his bike.
My wife lights candles in the morning
and says prayers alone in her room.
They’re just whispers through a door,
but I can always hear the sound
of the light turning on or off.
Clay Matthews’s books are Shore (Cooper Dillon), Pretty, Rooster (Cooper Dillon), Runoff (BlazeVox), and Superfecta (Ghost Road). A new book, Four-Way Lug Wrench, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag. He teaches at Elizabethtown Community & Technical College.