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Volume 14 • Number 1 • Spring-Summer 2022

Matthew A. Toll

and there were no butterflies last August.

We ate the pill and took a bite of the town, too. Tuesday
and a rock and a roll and a funeral at some upstairs stage and the tattoos,
the denim vest played out sleeveless hearty light blue lips guitars guts
and vests—
the weeping and the stage personas and the man in the ground.
We shook the bartenders down,
sniffed our way across Main Street. Across Pearl Street.
Smelled the past on our heels so we ran. runran run. run. ran. ranrun.
Running from picture frames, fridge magnets, dreamcatchers on
a dashboard-mirror-highway.
Running from bees outside the bar.
Run down. Run down. down. down.
From hardboiled eggs and bad luck.
From a death in the family.
From Family.

And they stormed the Capital doors yesterday.
The motherfuckers.
The People’s House.
Our house? Our house?
Our hours and our homes and our lives and our minutes, seconds.
Thoughts. Our. Thoughts.
Our seconds that matter.

What good is it to type or even pretend these pretentions mean anything?
What good are the Capitol steps? What good is broken glass?
What good are we?
Are we?

The town took a bite of the people on Wednesday and what good is it
as thousands die a day and I think about maybe being hungry again for the first time
in three quarters of a decade.
Bees outside the funeral home and there were no butterflies last August.
No magic.

a happy shiver shimmy goosebump sound

a morning walk;
the dew
in some forgotten field
just hanging off a dead-tired
A leaf so red so tired it makes you cry.
Sweet enough, anyway;
sweet enough she tastes like music,
sweet enough she tastes like a happy shiver shimmy goosebump sound.
just hangin’ off the end of a red-honey-vine.
A hummingbird and a smile.
A smile and a dearly missed hug or a wink or a bird’s wing or Her...
She is a Hug,
A smile.
Something I need.
I miss Her.

Matthew A. Toll hides out in Burlington, Vermont where he cooks for a living. He’s had poems published in Big Muddy, Five2One, The Offbeat, Crux Lit Mag, The Main Street Rag, Essential (pandemic poetry anthology published by The Underground Writers Association), as well as online in The American Journal of Poetry, GravelMag, Brickplight and elsewhere. Say hello: