About Face

by Clay Matthews

The Marlboro Man dusts off his Wranglers,
crouches down next to cast iron skillets
circling the blinking edge of the small fire’s
last cracked breaths, and eyes his smokes like bullets
in a box, ‘this one for food, this last one
for survival.’ He strokes the leather where
his boot grows too tight, feels the foot like stone
from some ancient statue with a stoic stare,
eyes hidden inward like pits in rotten
plums. He leans close, lighting a cigarette
on a tired coal yawning goodnight. Cold then
bites, and Marlboro shakes off the dark’s net
with denim. He leaves his body to tend
to instinct, and turns his back on the wind.

CLAY MATTHEWS has published poetry in journals such as The American Poetry ReviewBlack Warrior ReviewKenyon ReviewGulf Coast, and elsewhere. His most recent book, Shore, was recently released from Cooper Dillon Books. His other books are Superfecta (Ghost Road Press), RUNOFF (BlazeVox), and Pretty, Rooster (Cooper Dillon). He teaches at Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN, and edits poetry for the Tusculum Review.