Your Voice is a Large Stone Grinding Away the Walls
to Flannery O'Conner
dream of night falling in peacock trains that barely light the earth, and from
the porch of a county seat dragged out of red clay--its pillared bones glistening
like wet knives--I can count the hundred star-eyes.
morning seeps from the cracked trees and the view of these woods is left
for blood lines of dawn, I can see you rise from the moon blue fields
of rag weed and feral corn stalks, your crutches like wings.
you who watches for me, who picks the dirt from my feathers? Or, when
hungry dogs gather outside the fence, their meanness sinewed and jaws gleaming
with sacrifice, is it you who opens the gate?
coincidence that your nakedness is the word for wolves in moonlight,that you
believe cruelty is the first act of grace. Because a chicken can't fly, you
teach it to jump. If the blind complain, you wash their eyes out with lye. Another
dream goes like this: A young woman is furiously sweeping in a dirt
yard trying to erase her pigeon toed tracks, or she is crouching over the
shorn breast of a hen counting teeth marks along the broken neck. I would
like to comfort her, to place my hand on the crooked bough of her
shoulders and feel her breath rustle around the ashen dogwood hearts. I would
like to say that, after time enough, even Argus fell asleep. How
strange then, on nights when you arrive in a high, rat-colored car, dressed
in preacher blues with a hat as wide and sharp as a street corner, when you
hold my own infirm body under water, I always forget to struggle.
59 The Paris-American
Matthew Zingg's poetry has appeared in The Madison Review, The Awl, Muzzle, Blackbird and Opium Magazine, among others. His criticisms can be read in The Rumpus and forthcoming in The American Reader. Zingg received his MFA from Adelphi University and lives in Brooklyn. Photo was taken by Jillian Brall.