By Matthew Valades

Featured art: Sunflowers by Janet Braden

It became possible to say anything:
that was the delusion. A melting tree,
a painted deer—the books sat useless
as guides to understand such thoughts.

Holes at the elbows quickly drew
attention, but bothering to bother seemed
no longer worth the trouble. With walls
and brooms folks got better acquainted.

A summer of branches joining field
and sky swelled with lost promise.
It was good to stay, that’s how it felt.
People got older and younger. They’d sit

composing elaborate salad plans.
“Forget about tomorrow” became
a common phrase, but few took comfort
in what it meant. Distance fraught

with waiting, a blank consistency,
infused the hours as if each day
had been left on the table to fill the house,
rising through the rooms like steam.

Matthew Valades has had poems published or has poems forthcoming in SubtropicsCarolina QuarterlyThe Moth, The Shore, and The Pomegranate London. His book reviews have been published in PN Review and Quarterly West.

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