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Matt Hart

“Into the nothingness of scorn and noise”—John Clare

To be clear

I’m not saving anyone today

because to be a savior

I’d need an orange

life preserver, and I don’t

have an orange

life preserver or an orange

from Florida or a lovely

fruit of light     I don’t

even have any light

because—no real window

in this basement—it’s glass block—

but more importantly it’s 4:45 am

so still dark, and I’ve been awake

since 2:45 thinking about what to say

and what not to to my classes

to my friends to my daughter, my wife—

and not because I have anything

special to say or something to confess

but because sometimes I like to be

part of the larger community

of grasshoppers spitting

their brown chew juice and blurring

their black indecipherable wings    At least

I think they have wings

or maybe just legs

like the bottom part

of a mannequin

with a couple beers

sweating on it, like it’s a table

for two, but the people

left in a hurry having better things to do

than being part of this poem

I get it    I’m always writing poems

and sometimes people—

and by people I mean you—

just don’t have time

to be in them    Anyway,

that’s why you’re not in this one,

except you are, except

you aren’t      But

whatever you’re doing instead

I hope you’ll keep me in mind

I’m worried that my worriedness

is cause for alarm

A colorful insect just bit me

on the arm     There’s no fucking way

I’m going down with this ship

I might need some help

boring out my boring heart


Matt Hart is the author of nine books of poems, including most recently Everything Breaking/for Good and The Obliterations. Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous print and online journals, including Big Bell, Columbia Poetry Review, Harvard Review, jubilat, Lungfull!, Mississippi Review, POETRY, and Waxwing, among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He was a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety from 1993-2019. Currently, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the band NEVERNEW.

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