a new function

My mind is not quiet. Voices warble
from behind the plaster walls, as if from underwater.
My lover gives me his usual look of confusion.
It is not his emergency. He does not even notice
the noise until I mention it, superior as he is.
On good days, he binds me in his legs.
Shut in, it is possible to tolerate the neighbors.
Otherwise, the voices are not human behind the walls
the idea of black widows stalk across. Such rage
passes through me. I have begun to think
it is my natural being, like a stone set mysteriously
in an empty field. I have forgotten everything else,
though I am a thriving colony where I am,
distant from rational worldview. It is almost spring.

We have gone outdoors for quiet, with the purple
snow-hat blooms, the umbrella’s regular static
above us. Our boots are traction-steady, and stoned,
the world is bright: no guests, just the two of us out
with the full or not full houses, the curb
where someone has left a kitchen sink. It has filled
with snow as adequately as a water glass
or a mirror might.


Philip Matthews is a Jr. Writer-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis and a gallery assistant at The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Sonora Review, The Tusculum Review, Zone 3, Super Arrow, The Delinquent, Elimae, and Assaracus.