National Poetry Month Day 14: “Sober Lullaby” by Matthew Henriksen


Sober Lullaby

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Oak tree in time this story makes no recognition
A photo will not distance music caught in a wind
That entered the room where the child slept
Before she understood the tree I had a tree in mind
But a photo turned the colors blonde

I dreamed a cold barroom
Every photo a song a body will dance inside

Break off that now the child breathes but does not wake
What happens to our girls does not happen to a tree
Music does not happen unless listening turns to breath
Little rooms when quiet recall failure

Little memories stale smoke raked over pool tables
Birdless room neglected inside

In this buzzing left over from another room
In this coffin I kiss my daughter in her sleep

-Matthew Henriksen

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Matthew Henriksen’s first book, Ordinary Sun emerged from Black Ocean in 2011. Some recent poems appear in Fence, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Mandorla, and Bright Pink Mosquito, and a special feature of Frank Stanford’s unpublished poems, fiction, and correspondence, selected by Henriksen, appeared in Fulcrum #7. He co-edits Typo, an online poetry journal, and Cannibal, a handmade literary journal. With his wife, Katy Henriksen, he curates The Burning Chair Readings in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →