Upstairs the child rattles her crib against the wall.
I trim my nails and think about the future.
Some rockabilly song plays on the radio,
the voice of someone announcing a football game
coming down the road. Now that I’m a father,
every time I hear the scream of a child I rise.
There’s an almanac from the nineties beside a tree
that I’m afraid to touch. There’s a deep desire within me
for cheeseburgers. The leaves turn. Hawks fly. And if
you take a green branch, make of it a perfect circle,
and walk through, the act will release you from the bondage
of your past. Faith, friend, I have passed you in the grocery
aisles. The point being: To die is most:
We fill in the white space with bottles and TV episodes.
Beer. Sex. Eggs. Chicken. Is life really so much more
than this? My child shakes the foundation. She gives in
and goes to sleep. There’s this moment of perfect silence
before the crowd goes wild.
Clay Matthews has published poetry in The American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. His most recent book, Pretty, Rooster, is a collection of sonnets written in syllabics. His other books are Superfecta and RUNOFF. He teaches at Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN, and edits poetry for the Tusculum Review.
Friday Night Lights appears in The Tides (TLR, Winter 2014)