March 17th & the new spinach wilts,
the clover greens in the first real heat

of the year. I want to believe
in a Saint who stuck a stick in the ground

and threw forth a tree. Shade, I pray
for the aging maple outside the kitchen window

and corned beef in the oven.
Think of how much time we spend hoping

things turn out well. Last night
at the bar next door, an older woman

sang “Landslide” with enough sincerity
it broke me in half. I told my friend

“Isn’t karaoke sometimes the saddest thing
in the world?” Did he hear me? Did he see?

And did she, singing, deep down,
crack her bagged-bottle-of-bad-wine heart

on either side of those words
I know you know, too? Some theories

suggest there were two St. Patricks.
What luck. What perfection in the muted

white lace of a clover leaf. The world looks
to be ending these days, but we’re toasting

a man who chased snakes into the sea.
What sounds the waves must have made

that day. What a sight to see them
out there, swimming toward the sun.

Hagiography by Clay Matthews

Photo used under CC.

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About Author


Clay Matthews has published poetry in journals such as The American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. His most recent book, Shore, was recently released from Cooper Dillon Books. His other books are Superfecta (Ghost Road Press), RUNOFF (BlazeVox), and Pretty, Rooster (Cooper Dillon). He teaches at Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN, and edits poetry for the Tusculum Review.

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