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Matthew Mahaney

Sometimes it feels as if my body heat soaks through the sheets to stretch out in the open air.


Dear Elizabeth, last night I dreamt your voice asking

for another method, a new machine to sift the elements from ocean. Its shape seemed closer to constant than ever before, by which I mean there was a shadow of your syntax in every corner of the house. I tried explaining the golden ratio to your sister, but her hands never left her pockets. I've been speaking in a funeral voice all day.

Dear Elizabeth, every night the children

run through the streets with their arms wrapped in canvas. They are playing bury-the-knife. I tried calling to them once but they hear a lower register than I can manage. Sometimes when they release the ghost it runs through what used to be your garden. When its flashlight was aimed at the proper angle, I saw the top halves of your pearls still lying in the soil, the rows and rows of flowers I planted so long ago.

Dear Elizabeth, lately the weather seems perfectly

calibrated to my ability to make connections. Sometimes it feels as if my body heat soaks through the sheets to stretch out in the open air. The memories of magnets help, though I still sleep in the greenhouse most nights. I hold your name in my mouth to distract myself, flex my fingers in the silence created.


Matthew Mahaney was born in one place, grew up in another, and has since lived in several more. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Other poems appear or are forthcoming in Caketrain, Blue Mesa Review, and Sentence, among others.