Michelle Matthees


Michelle Matthees’ poems have appeared in Memorious, PANK, The Prose Poem Project, and numerous other journals. Her first collection, Flucht, will be published by New Rivers Press in October of 2016. A graduate of the University of Minnesota MFA Program in Creative Writing, she currently lives in Duluth, Minnesota. More information about her work is available at michellematthees.com



Up with the dawn, down with the boat,

remaking each waking with work,
the purr of the motor, its small black cat

that sees in the dark. You

are careful with the oars and their locks
rowing from the dock before the rip cord

pulls its punch into the night.

Up the river we putter, plastic ducks
in burlap at our feet, relatives,

each with its own lead weight wrapped

around its neck. We unbend each shackle
in silence and toss them into

their own dark faces strafed with stars.

They bob a trail, the truth of a family
fooling for food,

and we take up our guns, plunk

the homemade green shells in,
snap the jaws shut, waiting

as if I weren’t a girl learning to kill,

frozen hands locking
up as the sun meets the moon of frost

flaking off your jacket

before the puff of feathers
and the blood on our different hands.