Two Poems by Matt Broaddus

“Commute” and “African Mask”


Here I am. Cobblestones slick
as my suit. Science tells me
here I am. My phone tells me
science. Pointy radiation
arrows through forests
of clouds and glass
and morning and flesh.

Life is much as I remember
it being yesterday. Shoe ads
meant to arouse
make me hungry.
The necromancer on the corner
wears the same animal
face I never recognize.

I’m one of the undead
and proud of the teeth I have
professionally cleaned
twice a year. I read the entrails
of fallen pigeons. I know
where I stand
in the auspicious times
and the yet-to-be.

Here I am, science in my pocket.
The sun is a disembodied thought
I don’t understand. I can buy
papayas to feel better.
Elevator big as a house,
take me to the top of the capitalist gullet
where I will feast.


African Mask

You have to understand,
when I look at you
I can’t find the human.

Just limitless pink,
infinite tassels,
your crown —
a tuft of golden grasses.

There is some memory,
some remnant of a time
before the self was an option,
in your stare.

Do you understand the fear,
the joy I feel
as I vanish in your gaze?

Story Arc

“some say he lit women / ablaze as a source of light”