Book of Matches

by Josh Smyth

Strewn – carcass-like –
across the sea-bed-
basement.
Chisels and drill-bits,
labelled drawers,
a mounted deer head,
fishing sinkers,
PRIVATE DRIVE.
No executor.
Nor estate sale.
Nor sentimentalists.
Inherited by dust.

‘Gateway DINER’
And the G
swirls like a lasso
full of the echoes
of the momentum
of
neon lights,
roller-skates
of COCKTAILS,
OPEN 24 HOURS.
I wonder if it hitched
your eye,
and drew you in.
Were you tugged,
so you had to stumble after
your centre of balance
like a toddler?
Bronze-coloured.
And incensed with
rot and rust.
And your phosphorus-
headed regiment,
underneath, in rank and file.
Little veterans.
Yet two draftees are missing.
Headstoned by
two stubs.
Two torn stubs
like two intitials.
And on the reverse
a fumble of stroke-marks
along the striker.
Somewhere,
(perhaps grease-breathed Gateway DINER)
somewhen,
two matches hissed
into life
and perhaps satiated
your hunger for a cigarette
before being extinguished.

The other day I noticed above my postbox,
nobody took your name-tag down:
J.E MURRAY.


JOSH SMYTH is an international student from the UK majoring in English Literature. Josh also enjoys photography and music, and his favourite poet is Frank O'Hara.