is alien and soft as the upholstered corpse,
the rote grace of the hour
ceremonial and bland. You stand,
dark and polished as an unbitten plum
in the palm of the afternoon
whose practiced gestures offer
no relief or revelation, nothing
to be reopened or unsealed.
The distracted sun, for its part, declines
to blind you. Only the rain, seeping
from the poplar shade, in good faith
cools the body, speaking for no one.
When it’s over, the last sound
is the sound of slowness passing,
of something dragging its silver wake
across the damp stones of your attention.
Matthew Roth is the author of two books of poetry, Bird Silence (Woodley Press) and Rains Rain (FutureCycle, 2023). His poems are forthcoming or have recently appeared in Bennington Review, 32 Poems, Birmingham Poetry Review, and many other journals. He teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Messiah University.