Wednesday Afternoon

A Poem By Mathew Motley Clouser

My cheeks are a beehive,
my mind their insatiable comb.

My gut, an arroyo
awaiting the bombs from above.

Each day, a panting dog
running from snaked yards of hot hose.

Each night the squealing brakes
show no sign that the pads will hold.

With any luck sleep crashes,
mauling—fruitlessly—the old gate.

Tomorrow my face swells
with the dawn-tide, endlessly washing

the detritus (me again),
scalding me—the old steam engineer,

the one who dares to cross
Styx, Styx, Styx—I am not afraid!

My cheeks are red inferno,
my mind, meat on a tight-packed skewer.

My gut, such a literal
casing that glows from the embers within.

Each day is a new balloon
escaping the clowns and their children.

Each night, a thing to scratch,
were it only the day could reach it.

Mathew Motley Clouser is a reprobate writer, bookseller and washed-up chef from Austin Texas. A Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef” nominee in 2013 and 2014, his work has been published in The Rio Review, Delta Sky Magazine, and Garden & Gun. He is the son of a nun and a wizard (really)both dancers, who named him after his father’s mother’s grandfather’s brother, Civil War-era photographer Mathew Brady. No one knows why his family eschews the silent only sometimes but not others.

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