Matthew Gilbert received a BA in English from the University of Hartford—where they were selected to give readings at universities statewide as a member of the Connecticut Poetry Circuit—and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. Matthew's work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Columbia Poetry Review, PANK, Apalachee Review, Powder Keg, and elsewhere.
Are You There God? It's Me, Trix Rabbit
By Matthew Gilbert
You are what you eat so licking
my wounds I became wounded. Are you there
in the man, pale as refrigerator light,
lying on the sofa in my underwear
watching TV and like the channel
everything can change and be changed?
This man who tastes like the vanilla-
sweetened sky has been packaged into man.
You must be this dislocated dawn,
our cartooned Saturday morning,
today’s colors discolored like a bruise
the way one remembers childhood.
The trees orangey-orange as I ran,
scared shitless as fresh snow,
from the boys who smelled like superglue.
Lemony-yellow grass and I never knew
if I was about to be blindfolded, tied up,
and left in a cornfield or blindfolded,
tied up, and loved in a cornfield
after I stopped swallowing myself deep
and tasted a boy with dragon-fruit lips
sweetened with a fire’s need for
oxygen and a fuel source. The answer
was always the same: If I am asked
to draw a monster it will look more now
like a person than when I was a child.
Still, he reminds me that the saying is,
Curiosity killed the cat, but
satisfaction brought it back, sucking
in his stomach so I will still find him
attractive, the bowl of his body
catching the sun that survives the blinds
By Matthew Gilbert
I carry you as sound carries:
disinfected the phone but the calls
keep coming, night after night,
the searching breath and only breath
full of the salt of testosterone born
where the river foams at the mouth.
There is a thin line between haunting
and stalking, those watching over us
always caught between these: voices
never bodied, or bodies without sound,
like rain or the whispers of its work.
The caller, asthmatic, breathes
the way you wish for while drowning,
and a feeling should be understood
even when unfelt—even air
should be accepted as lonely, always
touching itself. I can’t hang up.
That heavy mouth makes minutes feel
like minutes again, this fathering moment
where you don’t exist unless they exist.
I finish unsaid sentences with goodbye.
You’d think I would know by now
I’m not hearing the sea in shells.
You would think that, wouldn’t you?