Red flowers drag themselves back into the earth
which is playing poker, isn’t bluffing
this hand or is bluffing and flips
an empty palm for the boy alone on a
blue stone, face an amazed dove, when
the cloud of a coupé opens over
a post-Soviet street’s fruit stand
and plums so sweet with eerie green
flesh burnt by snow. Christ is there? In the pit!
Watch your face will come right off
to leave a grill of gold teeth, October
hair burgundy, trampled cerulean smock,
lamé piping in the muck.
The silver paint precipitates. Blind
tadpoles thicken the pond. The joker
pisses. Sad enough but the transplanted
boy of the white churches
forgot about artifice when he lit his
cigarette we know—because
we have history on our side—
how he burned out, is burning still
in the minds of the little watchers
beneath whatever it was that
once passed for water.
Michelle Matthees lives and writes in Duluth, Minnesota. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s MFA program in Creative Writing. Recent work of Michelle’s can be found in PANK, The Prose Poem Project, Cider Press Review, 22 Magazine, Proof, Memorious, Anderbo, Defenestrationism, 5 Quarterly, Humber Pie, Specs, Third Wednesday, Paradise Review, The Mom Egg, Sou’wester, Thrice Fiction, and elsewhere.