Two Poems by Michelle Matthees


Early morning and I saw a star.
It’s been too long. Damnable tercet,
the world’s falling into prescribed

places. It was insane the way
winter wouldn’t come, fall still on,
one lush day after another,

the painter’s palate never drying.
Paradise would turn out to
be exacting; winter more so.

I stood with my blue brush, ready
to gut the dawn. The star’s
bad arm punched through the turn,

crumpled into a couplet. Palm up
among the glass and inconclusive.


Burning Green

I’ve stopped trying to unload
the pallets, I’ll serve the king

shoeless. My room,
the bulb, the bed in ruins

and I can choose it.
From out of the forest

in rags and hunger, face
blackened, skin splitting

into bark. My eyes
look at you with

rainiest luminescence.
Behind, the grey tube

of a city bus
sits like a pill

at the corner.
I might be the one

you must walk by
if you are to survive,

resting on an
unmarked grave the grass

will wrap in a shawl
that burns green at night

when the electricity is cut
and the poorhouse beds shine–

springs heiroglyphing,
sprung like guts. Everything’s open

for the birds. This
is how hurt works.


About the Author:

Michelle Matthees’ poems can be found in PANK, The Prose Poem Project, Proof, Cider Press Review, and elsewhere. She is a current recipient of Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and has received awards in the past from numerous other arts organizations. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota where she writes poems about living without electricity and running water, pizza delivery, and the coming apocalypse.