the body’s sinking twists into anatomical grounds
weakened with a flesh temper to give torque
was called love throughout the open front.
this was a boy’s war story—finding new ways to twist
for the ground to cave.
Tenses of Gone
For my foreclosed house of birth, which still stands.
The days bestowed no ode
when the nights made them.
This was around the same time I wondered how hours
work. This was around the same time I learned how my dad works.
Everyday, he went to unique hands of hour
like he hated the last one or each one
& hung his glum coat on its ruby rack—
one day he came home
clutching a little white slip with matte red stamping
before it milled in the purple-hip flame.
This is the day I learned what vanish means.
For some reason, when I learned a new verb that action would
dull one of our possessions down to buckling shadow.
Our sheepskin rug.
Our smooching brown leather couch.
The way we held hands at the dinner table.
Sometimes a smile,
Dad many more days.
I spent ___ on end staring at the hardwood palate,
wondering if the mud-hemmed
roof would yawn
in the wake of a stormy day.
& while I regret not finding out
I do remember the cadence of my father’s footsteps up the staircase.
Somedays they vanished. Somedays they never came.
Wes Matthews is a 2016 & 2017 Detroit Youth Slam Team member.