[Table of Contents]



Clay Matthews


The languages of algebra and neurophysics 
buzz through the fluorescent, Lord, and I 
wonder if in order to receive blessings 
somewhere something else must be cursed. 
Goddamn, I say, then apologize. 
I repeat: I'm sorry. I repeat: I'm afraid. 
Help, I confess, and feel unworthy of the light 
that falls on my shoulders, every single blade 
of hair that hangs on my head. The feathers 
of the sparrow, the chemotherapy, the fatigue, 
and sometimes a song my daughter listens to 
about rainbows makes me weep. 
Between a tear and the glory tearing me apart, 
colors must shape the side of the soul 
like a river. Oh, that I were a dove. Oh, that I 
might turn over and drown in peace. I sit in a corner          
with boxing gloves and trap doors opening 
and closing around me. Each night I pray 
for you to listen a little while longer. 







After a recent diagnosis of cancer and several rounds of chemotherapy, I returned to the Psalms as a means to grapple with my version of reality and to converse more intentionally with my version of god. The language of cancer is often metaphorized as a battle or a fight, but sometimes, even with a shiny new set of boxing gloves, it's hard to know what you're swinging at.