Matthew Carey Salyer


Matthew Carey Salyer

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You talked to them through your hair at length

of combtooth, a nit of a voice in the pines.

It was spring and penitential with verglas.

The breath of dinnerware, that fine.

I have the horse music again.

Its mane shivers across my ear like a stave.

It might have shaken your head at me

for the immigrant does not appreciate nature,

in your case, as artistic excursion. In your case,

of course there are bees in November.

You said Vilnius like a whisper of smoke

on my grandfather’s black lawn.

In your lithograph dress in an American state

you could not pronounce,

you had set it ablaze like a swidden.

Queen Victoria,

my grandfather called you, calling you

over to watch him weed the cops from your ash.

Sumer icumen in.


Matthew Carey Salyer

Matthew Carey Salyer is the author of a pamphlet, Lambkin, and two collections, Ravage & Snare (Pen and Anvil, 2019) and Probation (forthcoming). His work appears in SouthwordNarrativeThe ScoresColumbia ReviewThe CommonPoetryNorthwest, and other journals. He has been twice a finalist for the Iowa Review Prize in Poetry, the Pushcart Prize, and a has been a semifinalist for the Brittingham and Pollak Prizes in Poetry. He works teaching literature at West Point and as a bouncer in New York City.