Clay Matthews 

 

ESPERANZA’S LAMENT



Where was it we first forgot the long sounds
of peach orchards in August, or swinging
from the braids of Esperanza’s hair, hounds

howling at the moon, both of us clinging
to that silver mane, the river below
like a promise of the sea and singing,

lapping like a lament. Her hair would grow
on those nights into something forgotten —
the pitchfork, the haystack, the green meadow

that chewed with its mouth open the rotten
tomatoes, the summer’s bones. How the braids
smelt of hickory smoke, coffee, cotton

blossoms on a broken morning. The blade
that cut the ribbons, the water’s cascade.
The ax on the limbs where once the fruit weighed.





©2005 Clay Matthews

Clay Matthews Clay Matthews has work forthcoming in Poet Lore, Diner, Unpleasant Event Schedule, Gulf Stream, and elsewhere. He currently serves as associate editor for Cimarron Review while pursuing a Ph.D. at Oklahoma State.