William Matthews

William Matthews

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William Procter Matthews III (November 11, 1942 – November 12, 1997) was an American poet and essayist.
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Opening Her Jewel Box

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She discovers a finish of dust on the felt drawer-bottoms, despite the long time it's been since she opened it or wore lipstick
Sometimes she's asked "What are you thinking of
" and she's so startled she says "Nothing,&quo...
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Outer Space

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If you could turn the moon on a lathe, you would because you are curious
And that would explain why the moon slivers, but explain it stupidly by not taking care to ask how the moon rounds
And so we go, stupid ideas for feet
The bett...
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The Bear At The Dump

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Amidst the too much that we buy and throw away and the far too much we wrap it in, the bear found a few items of special interest—a honeydew rind, a used tampon, the bone from a leg of lamb
He’d rock back lightly onto his rear paws and slash ...
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The Waste Carpet

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No day is right for the apocalypse, if you ask a housewife in Talking Rock,
Georgia, or maybe Hop River,
Connecticut
She is opening a plastic bag
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Piano Lessons

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Sometimes the music is locked in the earth's body, matter- of-fact, transforming itself
So our work could seem useless, even tautological, as if music were weather, as if there were never practice, finger-oil on the keys, dust in the curtains...
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Onions

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How easily happiness begins by dicing onions
A lump of sweet butter slithers and swirls across the floor of the sauté pan, especially if its errant path crosses a tiny slick of olive oil
Then a tumble of onions
This could mean soup ...
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On The Porch At The Frost Place Franconia N H

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So here the great man stood,fermenting malice and poemswe have to be nearly as fierceagainst ourselves as henot to misread by their disguises
Blue in dawn haze, the tamarackacross the road is new since Frostand thirty feet tall already
N...
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On A Diet

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Eat all you want but don’t swallow it
—Archie Moore The ruth of soups and balm of sauces I renounce equally
What Rorschach saw in ink I find in the buttery frizzle in the sauté pan, and I leave it behind, and the sweet peat-smoke tang of...
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Snow Falling Through Fog

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This is how we used to imagine the ocean floor: a steady snow of dead diatoms and forams drifting higher in the sunken plains, a soggy dust on the climbing underwater peaks
But such a weather would build a parched earth, a ball of salt
D...
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Eyes

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the only parts of the body the same size at birth as they'll always be
"That's why all babies are beautiful," Thurber used to say as he grew blind -- not dark, he'd go on to explain, but floating in a pale light always, a kind of ca...
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The Snake

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A snake is the love of a thumb and forefinger
Other times, an arm that has swallowed a bicep
The air behind this one is like a knot in a child’s shoelace come undone while you were blinking
It is bearing something away
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Dire Cure

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"First, do no harm," the
Oath begins, but before she might enjoysuch balm, the docs had to harm her tumor
It was large, rare, and so anomalousin its behavior that at first they mis-diagnosed it
"Your wife will die of ...
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Homers Seeing-Eye Dog

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Most of the time he worked, a sort of sleepwith a purpose, so far as I could tell
How he got from the dark of sleepto the dark of waking up I'll never know;the lax sprawl sleep allowed himbegan to set from the edges in,like a custard, and the...
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The Blues

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What did I think, a storm clutching a clarinetand boarding a downtown bus, headed for lessons
I had pieces to learn by heart, but at twelveyou think the heart and memory are different
"'It's a poor sort of memory that only worksback...
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Men At My Father’s Funeral

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The ones his age who shook my hand on their way out sent fear along my arm like heroin
These weren’t men mute about their feelings, or what’s a body language for
And I, the glib one, who’d stood with my back to my father’s body and prais...
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No Return

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I like divorce
I love to composeletters of resignation; now and thenI send one in and leave in a lemon-hued Huff or a Snit with four on the floor
Do you like the scent of a hollyhock
To each his own
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