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Nude Descending a Staircase

Matt Thomas

It’s natural to disbelieve what you were born knowing,

to spend life lipping things you know you can’t eat

To slide a hand along the banister considering

the strips hiding each join in the ceiling

To focus on the nothing

furred between stars, drywall;

the sense common to your gaps,

everything missed, got away and so still able to reach back

To feel deeply for each way of living,

stuffing the cracks with whatever is at hand

against the draught of tongue lolling, pacing dog panic

that the fire alarm will ring at 2 am,

the burglar strobes activate,

the ice weighted tree collapse,

the airbags deploy.

To feel affection in the rising smell of breakfast

toward your own bone and tendon,

imagine each knuckle a knot reminder

of the weight of your reliability

To consent to gravity, reaching fingers, toes

blindly to pull the next step into your mouth

while gripping the guiding arm of stillness,

that worn smooth, fleshed name

toward the sound of love’s consonants, assonance,

ignoring the shards of movement

To leave the splinter when it comes

a dark shaft of arrow in the meat

in case you're tempted as I sometimes am

to remember that you're a trick of the light.



Matt Thomas is a smallholder farmer and occasional community college teacher. His work has appeared recently in Cleaver Magazine and Dunes Review. He lives with his partner in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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