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Matthew Henriksen: Two Prose Poems

The Story of an Evening | Going through an Anthropology Textbook

The Story of an Evening

The three of them sit in a car smoking the dust of crushed dinosaur bones, none of them believing Joseph McCarthy had anything to do with what happens on this street in thinned out woods, where they're wondering in some ways about white bones of moonlight in dried out cornfields, but more concerned with the heartís white landscape and the heart of the light that seems to burn all over everything like a residue that never goes away, a hot mold burning under their hands on vinyl seats as they listen to cars screaming in the snow, arms out open windows, the streams of light pouring into this night, the light of the past, the light of the future, the light that always seems to burn only in today, none of its heat escaping into the complete darkness of memory, the complete blindness of tomorrow.

Going Through an Anthropology Textbook

We no longer have clocks carved out of wood ticking at the bottom of the steps, the moon reaching the brass face of the pendulum, the shine turning as it swings. We have lost the mosquito hums of electric alarm clocks vibrating in darkness. We have electric digits in plastic boxes giving us the red, dead silent time. We no longer touch clay; we rarely run our fingers over the mud that builds our lives. We have forgotten the hands that worked with flint and that have fashioned bronze and iron, poured steel. Textile workers have lost their places. We feel the plastic click of keyboards beneath our fingers. We barely touch anything we consume: the wine glass between fingers, the forkís clink against the enamel dishware, or the ruffling of the napkin. Money spreads contagions, which pass into handshakes of associates who touch their mouths and kiss their kids. We most often touch ourselves. We hold our hands in movie theatres and eat with a hand in the lap. At night sleeping in bed alone or in a corner of a bed away from another, slowly shuddering we touch our hands to our faces, silhouettes of moonlight burning around the edge of skin. Leaving our bodies, we float above all things, not touching anything, not even the air, unhinged from the world below our hanging feet.

Poet's Biography:
  Matthew Henriksen, born in Appleton, Wisconsin, received a BA in Writing from Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas, where he is active in the Writers in the Schools Program and co-edits the e-journal Typo. His recent publications include storySouth, Alba, Shampoo, and canwehaveourballback?.

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