The privet, heavy now, bends
itself before god, the live oak rests his limbs
on these ancient tombstones. The glass roads
look like all the other roads, but the people
go nowhere. The smell of fresh wood
burning, chimney smoke in the distance.
Ice covers the holly and nandina—
life still life, after all, underneath.
Wintergreens reduced to oils, an overdose
rumored to cause illiteracy, from the book
to the window, to the book again—
Cordelia, he said, How is it you love me?
The brother who shed his leaves. This sister
who shed her clothes by the fire.
Sweet gums balled in the gutter,
the brittle promise of preceding the wind.
To be so close to the thing
trapped there inside. Just think
what the weight of the world hasn't broken.
- Clay Matthews (from Thrush Poetry Journal)