Matthew Hotham

The woman of flowers writes from Argentina, tells of men who ogle her breasts,

where an aum dangles, like they are the very pendulums of salvation, and maybe they are.

In Louisiana, the man she wants shoots nails into plywood to resurrect a city. He grows biceps

to suppress his bitterness, hates his friends who still write poetry.

And she still writes poetry—over coffee pens a stanza about Borges, dressed by his wife

in an ugly shirt, while in the rust belt a chemist admits he loves her and drags a fallen branch

to his room to watch it die. He cries out names to recant in confession, as his father withers

at a hospice in Buffalo. And for you, on Sunday, a forgotten girl phones from the ER,

dubs you Jesus, says she would believe in God if you called more often. Says she sees the face

of her mother’s killer when she sleeps with Southern men. You say: stop sleeping

with Southern men. Hers is the first name you rehearse, sitting with a man from Saudia

who confesses an aversion to Hindus and Marxists. In six months he’ll lose his visa,

and you will forget his name, but tell others of his father, who died,

how he started working young, and that his hands were soft and watery.

Matthew Hotham received his MFA from Syracuse University in 2007 and currently works as Managing Editor for the Harvard Review, while studying Arabic and Persian language and literature at Harvard Divinity School. His poems have appeared in Third Coast, 32 Poems, Harpur Palate, and The Chautauqua Literary Journal, among others, and have been reprinted on Verse Daily. His chapbook, Early Art, was published by Turtle Ink Press in 2006.

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