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.



“Lucy” first appeared in Green Stars (Iris Publishing Group, 2005).