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J A N U A R Y   1 9 9 8

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by William Matthews

Also by William Matthews:
Dire Cure (1997)
The Shooting (1996)
Cheap Seats, the Cincinnati Gardens, Professional Basketball, 1959 (1994)
The Blues (1989)
Homer's Seeing-Eye Dog (1988)
On the Porch at the Frost Place, Franconia, N.H. (1982)
New (1980)

See an Atlantic Unbound interview with William Matthews.

Go to:
An Audible Anthology
Poetry Pages

I like divorce. I love to compose
letters of resignation; now and then
I send one in and leave in a lemon-
hued Huff or a Snit with four on the floor.
Do you like the scent of hollyhock?
To each his own. I love a burning bridge.

I like to watch the small boat go over
the falls -- it swirls in a circle
like a dog coiling for sleep, and its frail bow
pokes blindly out over the falls' lip
a little and a little more and then
too much, and then the boat's nose dives and butt

flips up so that the boat points doomily
down and the screams of the soon-to-be-dead
last longer by echo than the screamers do.
Let's go to the videotape, the news-
caster intones, and the control room does,
and the boat explodes again and again.

William Matthews, who died in November, was a professor of English at City College, in New York. His latest collection of poems, Time & Money (1995), received the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; January 1998; No Return; Volume 281, No. 1; page 80.

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