poetry by j matthew waters

into the center of something

where do you go when I can’t find you
the shadow of someone else
seems to take your place
a body double that looks like you
but doesn’t

I chased you once out of the city
and into the woods
but your lungs were cleaner than mine
your years younger

when I reached the fork in the trail
I asked your shadow to continue
and so I followed it along the lower path

[where do you hide when I can’t find you
do go underground like a cat
into the sewer system
or like a rat racing across the water
almost as if it’s being pulled
without a motorboat
without a rope]

when the trail ends & the concrete begins
your shadow dissipates
into the center of something
leaving me on the shoulder of a road
gravelly & shadowless

a hand to the ear
I listen for your voice in the wind

november two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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