Hayden's Ferry Review


Writing to Remember

The HFR staff will be taking a break from the blog until 2012, but we thought this lovely poem would be fantastic inspiration over this holiday time as you think of those you love and then spring into the new year full of hopeful and creative energy.
A very happy holiday season to you and yours!

The First Letter
by Clay Matthews

Some mornings all we really need is someone to talk to.
Some mornings silence. Some mornings biscuits and silverware.
I shake and the starlings fly away. I shake and think of you.
Here in East TN they’re calling for snow. We will always speak
of the weather. We people in the mountains. We moonshine.
Lips and assholes and white bread. We quilts coming apart
on cold winter nights. The city trucks drive by. Lights flash.
The power lines hover with promises. Neighbor black dog,
neighbor beagle, neighbor bad leg in the Cadillac, the wrap
he keeps there to stop fluid from building up. A good man,
he fed you once. We take the spoons up and we put them in
our mouths. I am writing to tell you about this place. I am writing
to remember. You were conceived here. You were motor oil
on hands and prayers and people’s shadows out waking long
across the back lot. You were afternoons and early evening.
The water as it filled up that back lot. On some days, you can hear
someone practicing a guitar. On some days, even the tulips bloom.
I have nothing to ask of you yet. I’m not even sure what I have
to say. The lovely parts of our days. The pizza parlors and pickup
trucks. It has been a while since I sat at the water’s edge alone,
among the wild roses, and stared into the deep where the large trout
swam, the carp, and dragonflies that floated away on the surface.
Above and below. You will come to understand in life the radio
static and stories of heaven and hell. In Missouri my uncle wears
a cowboy hat and preaches three days of the week. Fire and brimstone.
Turquoise and silver. What do we know inside, when we carry
so much there, what does the future hold, where do we put all this
belief? We race them cars. We grocery shop at the Food City. We with
the garden out back, and the memory of that garden now weeds
and rotten pumpkins lush in the better places of our hearts.
Blesséd roots. I come here from a long ways away. The return
will return. And the summer will burn your face. I have so much to tell you,
who are a part of me, who I don’t even know, ungendered, unbound,
free and floating in the belly of the woman I love. Let this be
a beginning. Let us talk more about this later. Right now a dog
is barking. The sun is moving through the clouds. Across the street
a car is rusting. We wait for something to happen.
We wither. We embrace. We turn, and we come up in shoots.
Beth Staples