Broadside #42 – (Winter 2016 / 16.2)

Broadside #42 (Winter 2016 / 16.2)

Charlotte Matthews

Night Paver’s Song

I’ll admit I like the time alone, this glass cabin,
such stillness, the chance to mull things over. 
Slow as salt it’ll be years before I know what I want
and tonight in the cockpit I’m picturing accidents, 
ones that will happen on this very asphalt. I used to keep 
track of them: number of crashes at night, in winter, 
on holidays, three am’s the worst and we all know why.
Had a squawk box and would push a straight pin into a map 
I’d tacked to the wall for fatal ones on any road I’d made.

Growing up my brother and I kicked a ball back and forth
in the empty lot beside our house. That’s how I learned 
to use both feet. First job working for the state I spread salt
in winter, held a flag to stop traffic in summer. 
I’ve still five more hours of rolling. Once this shift ends
I’ll plant a lilac outside the kitchen door so Mary 
will have sweet cuttings to bring into the house 
come spring. Did you know there’s only one parable
that mentions a person by name? Lazarus, the poor man.


Charlotte H Matthews Typewriter 1

Author’s commentary: I am interested in giving voice to those whose jobs are unseen to most. Think janitorial staff after an airplane has disembarked. Think cook at a nursing home. Think those who pave our roads at night so we can drive on them during the day. So that was the engine behind this poem. I imagined what such a person—in this case a man—would think and wish for and remember.

Charlotte Matthews is the author of two full length collections: Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars (both Iris Press). Whistle What Can’t Be Said is forthcoming from Unicorn Press in early spring 2016. Recently her work has appeared in such journals as American Poetry Review, The Mississippi Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Ecotone. Her honors include fellowships from The Chatauqua Institute, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and The Virginia Center for Creative Arts.  Currently she teaches writing in The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program at The University of Virginia.


About bluefifthreview

Blue Fifth Review, edited by Sam Rasnake, Michelle Elvy, and Bill Yarrow, is an online journal of poetry, flash, and art.
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3 Responses to Broadside #42 – (Winter 2016 / 16.2)

  1. Pingback: #NationalPoetryMonth’16 Round-up (Day 12) | Bonespark~

  2. Pingback: Archives for 2016 | Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series

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