As a child, he knew this part of the house, accessed only through a cave-like closet, was special.
Now, newly discharged, he lives here.
Sometimes his mother pushes through the musty coats and newly hung uniforms: “Coming through!” But feigning sleep, turned away, it’s only his rhythmic breathing she finds.
Matthew lives in Hope, Maine.
Pushing aside the doorway’s purple shroud, the teenager entered the confessional. Then Jonah knelt, facing a translucent veil. It quivered; the panel opened. “Bless me Father for I have sinned…”
“Resist temptation. You must try, or you will be doing this when you are forty!”
At forty-one, he quit trying.
Matthew is encouraged by Charles Bukowski’s work and advice. According to Bukowski, “DON’T TRY” doesn’t mean to give up, but to let the things of life, as well as the Muse, come to you – to not chase after her!
“Buying that bookcase?” she asks.
Her body’s language is an easy read:
too much disappointment and heartache.
For her, my “yes” is just
Then, folding herself
into the crowd, she leaves me
with this new hole in my heart,
where before was a simple
and shallow shopper’s joy.
Matthew, despite his best efforts to ruin his life, has failed. He wonders if his good fortune, finding his disembodied heart in Maine, is good karma from previous incarnations, or is grace. He suspects it is grace.
He hears the wood thrush now
just at the edges of hearing, watches the trickling stream
from his front porch, and recalls
running from the bottom of this hollow
to its very crown—
—with his son on his hip.
And there, looking out
there was nothing—
Matthew now lives and writes in Maine. He always relaxes, just a little, when driving north on I-95 and crosses the Piscataqua River Bridge. There he is greeted by a large sign, white lettering on a blue background: WELCOME TO MAINE – The Way Life Should Be.
The dead sparrow behind the garbage barrel brought it all back. Vietnam, that letter from home about my first girlfriend. Suicide, it read, something about her husband and her sister.
But this damp spring evening we danced again, carried by the wind and the liquid trilling of a Wood Thrush.
Matthew lives and writes in Maine. He loves the cool evenings of spring, and first the wood thrushes, then later the loons.
he stops taking notes,
and stares at the pretty girl just in front of him.
With each stroke of her pen,
the fine downy hairs on her tanned forearm quiver,
just below her left earlobe,
on the side of her tanned neck,
one perfect freckle.
Matthew writes and takes classes in Maine. Sometimes he gets bored and looks around.