1968 by Matt Muth

1968
by Matt Muth

For three nights we watched Vietnam
documentaries, mom slipping
…………….into the TV, the TV blooming
…………….the blossom of ’68
back at her. What an age
it is: Detroit shoveling
the ashes, her brother

on night patrol, The Supremes
…………….descending in their shimmery
…………….chitons through the radio
and settling over the year.
Watching her watch herself
is a marionette of severance,
the soft screen playing back

her life as if it happened
to a bystander, the narrator
…………….rifling her pockets. It must
…………….be an agony watching
vacancy grow arms
and legs until it walks
beside you covetous

and swallowing what your eyes
can’t fix in place. We drove by
…………….her childhood home, a wet wreck
…………….on a block of wrecks stripped
for copper. Her brother
lives in Dearborn now,
his life inside that year

shot through with holes, which is
to say he came back whole as anyone
…………….could hope. Diana
…………….will leave and Florence
will die; the bricks collapse
into disordered piles,
and my uncle beyond

the sight of everyone except
the news. All I can do is watch
…………….as this fond emissary
…………….shows me what it loved
and never know what kept
its shape or what they held
in the cleft of that year,

as Detroit’s east side emptied
itself of song and the air split
…………….against itself. If they saw
…………….three bright angels hold the sky
aloft for one slow beat, heard
them singing Set me free,
singing Keep me holding on.


Matt Muth is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Pacifica Literary Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review, RHINO, Rattle, Nashville Review and The Adirondack Review. He teaches writing at a technical college for video game designers in Redmond WA, lives in Seattle, and is a solid beer-league hockey player.

 

 

 

Image credit: Wikipedia

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