By Matt Hart

Featured Art: Funghi by Nina Battaglia

Today his family is driving
to Cincinnati from Philadelphia
to start packing up his things
and taking some of them away.
Not a lot of people know
that Dean was living here (because
that was how he wanted it), but
we were spending a lot of time together
with beer or scrambled eggs,
though usually not both
at the same time, same juncture,
same hootenanny-creature-feature.
He seemed lighter and lighter,
sometimes almost clear. But then
he got sick—wasn’t taking care
of himself, wouldn’t see a doctor.
And it still doesn’t add up—how
happy he was and how desperate—
but that day at the hospital
it was the intensity and the LEDs
of his eyes I watched expire
in a surge of tangled wire.
And now, I am a torrent of crystal sadness
that looks like stars and fades
like an old jean jacket that gets
agitated and spun out with all the rips
in time and space, which are just people
arriving on the scene and then
vanishing—but everywhere I look,
there they still are
and by “they” I mean him,
and yeah, it’s kind of stupid
all these months later, but I am
kind of stupid all these months later,
and today I’ll go over to what used to be
his apartment and clean a little
the bedroom, the bathroom, and
the kitchen, so I can feel
like I’m doing something useful
in the void, but also so it’s ready
for his family to find him, cosmic
and still raving, his pockets
full of poems.

Matt Hart is the author of Familiar (Pickpocket Books 2022) and nine other books of poems. Additionally, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including American Poetry Review, Conduit, jubilat, The Kenyon Review, Lungfull!, and Poetry. His awards include a Pushcart Prize and a grant from The Shifting Foundation. He was a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry.

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