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Matthew Spence


Fish. Dead on the bank, where the river’s bend
curves like a hand
and you left me faster than the sky.

They have us
to thank

for this
un/fortunate state

in which our
height in space
is fate

and where
an I
is not an I-am-waiting-for-you-and-the-ferry-is-strange-on-the-steaming-water I,
but rather, rocky and moss-drenched in a park, by a still
green pool.



Down to the washlands
where the library is mess of glass,
where the last of the kids leave the playground.
Breweries beam their smog, distant hills are charcoal,
I sit on a bench and the ground is fat with water.

Down to the washlands after college with Jess
A horizon of flooded fields.
The low sun’s reflection forms a golden sea.
She taps a joint in the silence
and the smoke joins the breeze.

Down to the washlands while engines shunt carriages
and did you know this was 60 miles from the coast?
Battered willows lull at the stream
a seamless expanse. A squirrel drags some litter
tangled in a branch.

Down to the washlands to stare at my legs
the talk of little birds wading in the shallows.
Trucks climb the hill, a barge churns water.
It’ s summer but the sun rises so late
I hardly know my own reflection.



When the rain finished we took a bus into town,
stumbled through the flat greys and pinks
picked a bench to eat pizza by a deer park.

Everything so fresh and clean. The gulped air cooled
like cobbles, ravenous pigeons flapped in invisible slips
of wind.
I looked at you for a moment,
the stretch of all Europe in   your face
on every blade of grass:

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