“Undergrads” by Matthew Buckley Smith

Matthew Buckley Smith


The place we lived was only an idea,
Nothing to do with the failed cotton mill town
Where a record shop, some bars, and a pizzeria
Were all we ever cared to call our own.

From nightmares of a happy life with kids
We’d wake in boozy sweat to find the floor
Still cobbled with bottle caps and take-out lids,
Our twenties crumpled safely in a drawer,

Unspent like all the hours ahead that night
We met each other in the common room
And found somehow without the help of light
Our way across the river by the time

Dawn spilled down from the campus to the banks
We’d come to, single, sobered-up again,
To see the morning glories give their thanks
For things we had, and hardly noticed, then.

from Rattle #57, Fall 2017


Matthew Buckley Smith: “The more time I spend with poetry, the less certain I am of anything I say about it. I’ll admit that as a reader I tend to favor clarity over innovation, beauty over authenticity, and feeling over moral rectitude. As a writer I just try to write poems I would want to read. But even these inclinations I grow daily less sure of.”

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