poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “shadow”

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


Welcome to the corner shop
called Shadow
its doors are always open
its prices reasonable

Spend the night if you wish
and travel back in time
find your primitive instincts
and marvel at your survival

Wind down the hallway
of yesterday and rediscover
the seat of creativity
guiding you toward the light

Accept the token Shadow
as you reenter reality
a reminder your inner child
comprehends eternity

june two thousand twenty-one
original written september two thousand eleven
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

man is but a shadow

it’s 7:17 pm
and if I wanted to
I could find my own shadow

as for now
I’m content staying homebound
where I sit & wonder
where my shadow could be

in a perfect world
your shadow never leaves your side
omnipresent like god herself
who will one day
add yours to her collection

april two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the start of the ending

late night & new corner location
working on an old story with little light
this shadow in my periphery
moves from chair to chair
in the darkened dining room

scattered words stray near & far
I bring them back into the fold
rearrange them in the open field
pretending the start of the ending
will be different next time

february two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

bleeding hearts

I grow bleeding hearts
in my garden
where there is no sun

they thrive in the shadows
where tears
are not seen but heard

june two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the natural rink

the lighted pond
attracted the townsfolk
on christmas eve
all eager to trade their boots for blades
and chase their shadows
across the ice
their arms and legs seemingly moving
in different directions
as feet shuffle and glide
race and coast
their chatter audible and visible
in the bright brisk air
with an occasional rump
every so often
testing the thickness
of the natural rink

december two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

shadow dancing

one hour past midnight
the clock tapped me on the shoulder
and i opened my eyes
laying there in the dark
staring at the wall coming to life
with silent apparitions dancing to the rhythm
of the outside breeze
which filtered into the room
slightly chilling my hands and feet

i was too scared to move
and wondered if the time had come
to travel with the company
wondered if the players
would pull me out of the bed
and carry me away out through the window
into the never-ending night
where i would become a shadow
dancing on someone else’s wall

november two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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