Matthew Friday – Three Poems

The Unspilling

Late October evening in Dresden
a wintry darkness descending
suddenly seagulls, cries everywhere.

Look up, see spots of white milk
on a grey-black cloth, unspilling,
backwards, a galaxy of stars spinning

in reverse, drawn into the gravity
of a high crane, the roosting spot
away from cold Elbe currents.

Gulls dropping, jostling for place,
milk resetting and the accident
of Dawn waiting to happen again.

Tree Swallows on a Golf Course

Two Tree Swallows cut out contours
of the golf course, roller-coasting
over every dimple, dip, manicured dell,
rising up ankle high in a swish,
smoother than any golfer’s swing;
driven across the fairway faster
than the shot balls cursing through
trees. They are summer spirits
come to tickle blades and branch,
arrow around us, spinning, stitching
up smiles made of our amazements;
that there is more to life than golf.

Childhood, a Definition in 4 Parts

Being 3

Wellington boot on one foot,
just a sock on the other,
chasing a pigeon,
slice of toast in one hand,
mother rushing up behind,
hands outstretched to catch.

Being 4

In red pyjamas
riding a scooter up and down
the empty road.
Seeing us, she wants to show
more. She grabs a skateboard,
boasts she can ride both
at the same time
which she does,
wobbling like an old tooth
until she tumbles off
unhurt but hesitant.
We drive off
and she watches, worried
about what comes next.

Being 5

In an alley outside Starbucks
a boy and his grandfather
bat a brown balloon up, down,
back and forth; a game of giggles,
sudden swerves, childhood
under the layers of the grandfather’s
beer oiled face and bulging belly.
Their few minutes of play
could be hours until, until
the Moms come by, stare
into shop windows longingly,
all move on, staggered order
balloon and grandson bursting ahead.

Being 6

On South Kensington tube station,
tap-dancing through the boring wait,
feet softly scuffing the gummy platform.
She taps, looks back and up
at Daddy, taps more and edges away,
closer to the train line. Not testing
just tipping into her world of dance.
Daddy reels her back with an umbrella
and they talk technique, train times,
something caught in her corn-gold hair.

Matthew James Friday has had poems and short stories published in magazines and literary journals worldwide, including A Handful of Stones, The Brasilia Review (Brazil), Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Eastlit (East Asia), Third Wednesday (USA), Of Nepalese Clay (Nepal) and We Are a Website New Literary Journal (Singapore). More at: