Charlotte Matthews


Lucy lives behind the house back of the barn,
red oil drums set out to catch the rain.
The afternoon has almost emptied,
light moving in starts over the eastern trees.
She is outside sweeping her dust yard
into perfect swirls, the wings of a night moth.
She does this so that grass won’t grow
and snakes can’t hide.
All day she has boiled whites, watched the dirt
rise into the scalding wash water, all day
with what is worn next to the skin, hanging
the underwear out brilliant in the July sun.
At times I feel a darkness inside myself.
She tells me, and her voice is so smooth
I feel a cold running in me I have never felt before-
she tells me time will pass faster as I get older,
that I won’t want so much anymore.

Charlotte Matthews
Green Stars first appeared in Green Stars (Iris Publishing Group, 2005).