Matt Hart


Matt Hart’s most recent books are Radiant Action (H_NGM_N Books, 2016) and Radiant Companion (Monster House Press, 2016). A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he is Associate Professor in Creative Writing and the Chair of Liberal Arts at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He plays guitar and shouts in the bands TRAVEL and THE LOUDEST SOUNDER.


Unsettling the Dust

—for Katelyn Wolary

As always, with luck, I am just waking up.
The grass outside is sparkling itself.
My life inside is looking at a coffee cup
on the kitchen table that I could almost

touch, if I reached for it, but I won’t.
It has a sketch of a typewriter printed on it,
almost a blueprint, almost a ghost. I’m not

sure why I’m telling you that, but perhaps
it’s entirely obvious why: I’m setting the scene,
so I can tell you something else, kicking-up dust
in quatrains and tercets. That’s just how

it’s all shaken out. I try to stay honest
and open with myself. I try to be inclusive
of everybody else. I wonder about the future

and when I will vanish. Then
I do my best to forget about it, refocus
my attention outside my bag body,
the sparkling grass again or some coffee

for the cup. I wonder about butter—if we have any—
I wonder about people, the people I love—
what they’re doing while a bee buzzes near me,

for I have stepped outside, and the air swims
with reasons to bite the blossom
off a geranium or the bloom off
an azalea, but instead I bite

the inside of my mouth HARD
chewing wildly on a handful
of unsalted peanuts, which at first I typed

as “unslated” because I’m not really outside,
and it’s not really morning. I’m writing with my eye
on something that happened earlier,
but I find it’s always such a gift to be present

in language and present in the present
and not to forget. I’m writing to tell you
you have to keep it up—the daily-ness

and simplicity, the astonishment and love.
You get to make an owl or an eagle
of yourself. You get to make an image
of the world the way you want it,

not the way it is, not the way
it’s always been. Dear Katelyn, a car
just sped by me with hip-hop spilling out of it.

Buckets of raindrops or pigs’ ears
or stardust, the voices of people
in summer at a party, counting their blessings
heartbeat, heartbeat, heartbeat,

From the collection Radiant Companion, due in September 2016 by Monster House Press (