Matthew Rohrer

My eyes begin to swell
in my head, I have to
turn them off--ring
of a siren down
the street--more sirens
my family is asleep
the rise and fall
a song that won’t leave
my head, where everything
becomes unknowable
as it is experienced
the song rocks--bombs
that rip the tall hearts
out of the grasses
the sun that smacks the city
the people put together
a city and we dismantled it
and used it against them
my carrier sends me
a new phone--they send their sons
against their sons
the rise and fall of my wife
beneath the green blanket
the green stripes beneath her
the road clouds when someone passes
the old phone must be broken
to pieces
and disposed of
in separate cans
in the beautiful occupation


the weight of being that kid
who wants to wear a dress
to his friend’s party
the weight of wearing it
the weight of not wearing it
his mother glides behind him
and the ocean overturns
to occupy the city
the morning is
the smell of the future
all the clothes
in the Laundromat on Sunday
morning believe
in perfectability
like Godwin
as they’re washed clean
as I too walk down
the sidewalk
with my friends on my mind
their own dreams of perfectability
flapping in the breeze
a father on his stoop
is playing rough with his son
but I believe in the future
I am walking right through it
it is a space about
20 blocks long
and 5 blocks wide
my wife moves her foot
across it
to reach mine
under the green blanket
a few last cars
go down our street
the curfew extends
into the dream


Matthew Rohrer is the author of several books of poems, most recently SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS, published by Wave Books.