about the author

Matthew Schmidt is working on a PhD in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Hobart, Pleiades, The Seattle Review, Territory, and elsewhere. He is an associate poetry editor at Fairy Tale Review. These poems are excerpted from his manuscript, “Combing the Map Flat.”

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Two Poems  

Matthew Schmidt

Song Remains

The boy has been the boy been

           many boys in the chorus

perched in the periphery,

           smooth mouths,

squeaks that rain on the story

           of shared falsetto.

The boy looks at his timeline, marks

           when the rain swells. Precipitation diminishes,

grass thickets crest windward. Now

           the boy sees the boy and the boy before,

their feelings resonant in memory.

           He knows why he feels cold

looking at simulacra. Why water

           gashes him open. He is an amalgamation

fraught through cords: umbilical,

           skeletal, digital.

Where the airwaves end

           and his finger begins.

At the Edge of Matter

The boy worries that he never understands,

           feels his russet elbows, sees their raw red.

There are holes in our spines that compromise bending,

           and ash slips across the burn pile to town.

Without a mask can we still be human?

           The boy hopes he can feel the breeze

when it chooses to touch outstretched arms.

           When we ask if something is true are we asking out of fear

while the drain slinks farther down

           with terrible swiftness?

To feel for the first time an insoluble truth

           that the worm burrows through earth like rain.

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