I received an MFA in Poetry from The University of Montana in 1999, so naturally I now sell insurance. My poems have appeared in some journals and anthologies, most notably The Best American Poetry 2007, and my chapbook Silent Partner won the 2013 Sow’s Ear Chapbook Competition.
Not a Cloud in the Sky
This is the clear sky,
a baby’s eye, stairway
to recently something.
This is your face assessing
the clear sky, not the rheumy eye
of an overcast sky.
Not the bloodshot squint
This is the unmarred, daylit sky,
going nowhere fast.
So this is your aging face
not reflected in gracious blue.
Must it be about you?
This is about you, averse
to your own reflection.
You find yourself
grateful to the clear blue sky
behind which you and the moon can hide.
A fly inside taps against the glass
of an open window.
It alights where the pane meets its frame.
Sees through the glass, not the glass
taking this room into its filmic form:
depressions into impressions, green lamp
an amorphous swell of suspended vapor.
No use now its radar,
a pupil trapped within the limits of lens.
A Rain Lesson
Achy knees, arthritic hands
and little instruments
predicted this rain
hours ago: the sky,
once easy going,
is throwing a temper tantrum.
If you listen closely it will
sluice into song,
so fear not.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say
it is time to suck
these sodden leaves,
to eavesdrop on valley and creek
and fix ourselves a sewer.
Through a Lens
I'm supposed to see you. A new pane,
wholly transparent, polishing to blind
your silhouette behind. There's a haze
I can't muse out of you, a bird's flight
obscured by sun's midday rays.
So we might learn to cultivate
we've settled into place. I'll plant seeds
to choke out weeds; but soil surrounds
unearthed stone, not one unbroken
or soft as it sounds.
Liken the cloud shard to the crescent
clip of moon later, before the hand-in-hands
tighten with demands of slick union, dawn--
a toy too antique to pique you these
words. You have (suddenly) withdrawn
being had, as if, for the birds, flying colors
will affix my gaze. I want to see you
as the grass beneath the dew. One thousand words
ago you snapped undeveloped before me.
My tweezers lifted you like nothing endures.
©2014 Matthew Byrne