Matthew Hummer


I am the lean mooncalf trapped by wire
with feed enough for wobbly legs to stand.
Unused to meadow weeds,
I sleep on hay-thatched mud
waiting for the day of blood.
Don’t speak to me of yellow-faced daisies.

Before you I could think of things
like antique books, bonsai trees, and fallen temples-
weed grasses root in brick and mortar-
yellow flowers burst from a woody stem.
Now the things I used to love are hollow.

The laughter I had with you is worse than heroin.
I have unknotted my shoelaces and walked into a wall.
I have forgotten the time and lost my watch.
I have talked to the moon, but she did not talk back.
You are opium in black stick licorice.
My teeth are falling out.

Matthew Hummer says: “My daughter used the word ‘awkward’ in the new fashion–to signify that which her peer group considers to be outside the norm. She is ten and starting to realize the demands of conformity that that age invents. I lectured her because it offended me that my intelligent, creative daughter was using a word loosely, as she has heard it used in school and on the Disney channel, because I want her to weigh words with a sacred deliberateness. But then I thought that maybe I am just getting old: thirty-four, well-married, well-housed and well-fed, with a teaching job for as long as I want it. My delusions are falling fast, not the least of which insists that I am a writer.”