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Matthew Gilbert



Your guest list of blesseds couldn’t come
but you’re here in droves: I peeled
your body, redheaded and cardinal,
from behind the couch where you hid

on your eighth birthday, told to act
like an adult. You were adorable,
husked in tap shoes and a tiara.
I decorated the house with nails, too,

provided a party mix of roses and figs.
Weeded another concretized you
out of the garden, and skin caked
in dirt, don’t you feel like a kid again?

The banner kit is missing letters
so says, “Dog With A Torch.” I’ve hung
lantern jaws around the back lawn
to give us light. This is your intercession.

Surprise! There is confetti and a canon.
There is another you wrapped
in ribbons on the restroom floor.
Don’t cry blood and call mom,

it’s okay—most miracles don’t start
until it’s too late. What I’m trying to say
is that the grass is always greener
above where the bodies are buried.

Your symbol can be the head in hands.
I’m here for you, but someone can’t be
made a saint: they are, and they were,
and tomorrow they will be again.





Matthew Gilbert has recent work appearing or forthcoming in PANK, Columbia Poetry Review, Apalachee Review, Phoebe Journal, and elsewhere. He received his MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, and currently lives and works in Hartford, Connecticut.