Grace Mattern

Midnight

Sharp shadows

slash the yard, squares 

of window on carpet

a whole moon


mirror of distant, careless

fire, cold witness 

to hours endured 

pacing outside your bed’s 


soft box, common fear

carried through each room 

as night flickers

and time spills its ash.


Now the walls shift.

Now you walk that line.


Bouquet for the Kitchen Table

A lamp by the neighbor’s 

front steps laps 

into a shallow pool 

the sliced moon slits 


on its way to setting. 

Three more nights 

and this wide window

will be dark, the lit face


turned away. The cardinal 

returns with morning,

lights in the apple tree 

as I approach with clippers.


Blizzard Moon

Clouds race, storms primed 

to collide, sweeping the each

into the vast. Snow 


has its own code, swallows

light, blind windows

pleated white, eyes 


shuttered. I fold fresh 

towels, unfold them to wipe 

footprints from your floor,


the tempest tracked

indoors. You reach for sleep, 

brace as wind and ice 


break over your body’s sashes

and clatter against glass.


Grace Mattern’s poetry and prose have been published widely, including in The Sun, Calyx, Prairie Schooner, and Yankee. She’s received fellowships from the New Hampshire State Arts Council and Vermont Studio Center and was nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes. Her book, The Truth About Death, won the NH Readers’ Choice Award for Outstanding Work of Poetry in 2014. She served as the executive director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence for 30 years. You can find more of her writing and samples of her art at www.gracemattern.com.

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