Wes Matthews


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.