Listening to Neil Young in California
is like throwing away the old pills

that used to cure something and turning
your face towards the day, i.e. the ocean

filling the window with grey boats
floating in totally bright present aloneness.

For several weeks on my lap top
I had a picture of the space shuttle docking.

Then I replaced it with the ravenous
wooly adelgid covering a blighted eastern hemlock.

One branch looks like a limb
destroyed by an improvised explosive device.

Friend whose father is dying,
let us exchange dreams.

I am strong enough for yours
and you can move

down the long boring beige literal corridor
and replace the batteries in the thermostat,

fingering a diamond hair clip.

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MATTHEW ZAPRUDER is the author of five collections of poetry, including Come On All You Ghosts, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Father’s Day (Copper Canyon, 2019), as well as Why Poetry, a book of prose. He is editor at large at Wave Books, and was the founding Director of the Bagley Wright Lecture Series. From 2016-7 he held the annually rotating position of Editor of the Poetry Column for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he is an Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.

One response to “Journey Through the Past”

  1. Beautiful, Matthew. It’s been a real pleasure to work with you, my friend. Welcome to TNB.

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