Two Poems by Matthew Landrum


After the walk, we stood awhile
at the park gate, unsure of what to say. A residue

of sweat stained your shirt, white-grained
against blue fabric, the fluidity of the body wicked away
at the sun’s insistence. A mineralization

coated my skin as well, a thin shell that could not blunt
the silence between us, its point and thrust.

Children ran along the pavement, keeping kites
aloft in the still sky; brown lawns wavered, watery
in the convection lift over the tarmac

(all this we looked at to not look
at each other). We might have been playing statues or standing in

as sundials for the latter days
of summer as the dry sun sank toward the western suburbs
splaying my shadow across your face. Salinity reminds us we are

bodies. And whether our awkwardness was bodily
desire shied from or a lack of common ground,

we stood our ground. Katharina,
here is a remembrance of what the laundry washed away –
the parching sun, tall grass, a wrought iron gate,

you turning away, leaving to catch the last train, last words
left unsaid, silent on lips that tasted of salt.



In the thronging of song, all is lost
to incoherence. Above this mango tree
floats a moon the color of a burnt mango.
Tonight, I will sing the scope
of a body that molts
and breaks apart.
What does it mean to be a voice
when what I say will be said
again or rather is being said
even now by another?
For years, earth stopped
my throat. Now I join in cacophony
beneath a flowering mango.

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