Matt Morton


That feeling won’t fit in a tackle box.
It won’t sit still in a safe. Impossible,
you’d think, for a single dream to reopen the wound
cauterized by years, until the figure emerges
cinematically from the tree line swept with fog.
You haven’t slept in days. As it turns out
no one made you king, although the boardwalk lights
illuminate precisely where you pass.
Each morning, inexplicably: a murder of crows
comes flocking across the dunes.
From the window you watch, horrified somehow
by the prone position the horizon assumes.
White noise signals what’s approaching. A shadow
falls across your beach read. Try not to worry.
Odds are it’s someone else’s turn. So you work
the jigsaw puzzle, the pieces all sea and sky.
Memorize some lines of eighteenth-century verse.
Curse your deity of choice, or blame your father
for what he failed to say, but don’t forget
that the average stature of man makes
climbing most trees an impossible task.
That there is no fifth chamber inside the human heart.
Soon we’ll be leaving this city for good,
though it seems we’ve just arrived.
I’m sorry, I too was coaxed out of hiding
under the impression that things would be greener.
I too was told there would be a chorus of bells.

Matt Morton has been a Finalist for a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a Finalist in Narrative’s 30 Below Contest. His poems appear or are forthcoming in West BranchThe Cincinnati ReviewColorado Review, New Ohio Review, and 32 Poems, among others. He lives in Baltimore, where he teaches at the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars.