A Poem from Adrian Matejka's Somebody Else Sold The World

July 21, 2021  By Adrian Matejka

I used to live in a sandstone house
wrapped in flowers. They weren’t
tall like Neruda’s in his city next

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to the sea. My flowers quickstepped
like the town I walked the dog
through—little magentas, roses,

singsong rehearsals of sing-along
yellows & winking whites when
the right breeze kicked up. Out

in the yard, neighborly blossoms
falsettoed to the canopy each & every
spring. Suburb of aromatic layers,

trimmed hedges pollenating the windows
while my little girl gospeled down
the long stair of revelry. Glory be.

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Her harmony bent me like a stark
song in the back talk. Euphonium
along the length of yawning houses,

those For Sale signs & empty
windows with timed lights. Every
thing sang its entropy. Almost

everybody grew eventually. Not by
revolution but realization: nostalgia
made mnemonic. What else can

I do after leaving that house other
than become part of the chorus?
Glory be my aberrant attendance,

still trying to itemize the litany
of sunstruck days the way
Sisyphus did, hauling his bundled

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shipwreck up to the recycler
for a few copper coins & a smoke.
Glory be my busted, fatherly heart.


Somebody Else Sold The World by Adrian Matejka

From Somebody Else Sold The World by Adrian Matejka. Copyright © 2021 by Adrian Matejka. Published by arrangement with Penguin Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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Adrian Matejka
Adrian Matejka
Adrian Matejka's most recent collection of poetry is Map to the Stars. His other books are The Big Smoke, which was the winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a finalist for both the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize; Mixology, which was selected for the National Poetry Series; and The Devil's Garden (Alice James Books, 2003), winner of the New York / New England Award. Among Matejka's other honors are fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and United States Artists. He served as Poet Laureate of the state of Indiana in 2018-19 and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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