The Future of Terror / 5

By Matthea Harvey b. 1973 Matthea Harvey
If there were gamebirds in our gables,
shouldn’t we shoot them ourselves?
Thus we went glass-faced into glory.   
We had our hearts set on staying here,
so our steps seemed more hesitation
waltz than straight-ahead tango.   
We danced the hokey pokey on holy days—
put your left arm in heaven, your right leg in hell
and in the hubbub of shake-it-all-about,
we didn’t hear the hoofbeats. The illuminati
spoke to us over the intercom via interpreters.
Meanwhile we had iodine dribbling from
our wounds and itch mites in our blankets.
Ours was not a job to joke about.   
In the lantern-light, the lawn speckled
with lead looked lovely. We would live this
down by living it up. My pile of looseleaf
was getting smaller—I wrote in margins,   
through marmalade stains, on the backs of maps.   
I put a piece of mica in the microwave and before
the explosion it made the mirage I’d imagined.
I was hoping for a noticeable increase in nutmeats
or a one night stand in the oubliette. I outwept
everyone at the pageant, even the children
from the poorhouse playing possum.
We studied the protocol for astronaut removal
the minute we saw his spit hit planet earth
on the spaceship window. But though the scandal
reverberated round-the-clock, we had to let it
slide. He was up there turning somersaults
while we spun ever-so-slowly below.

“The Future of Terror/ 5” © 2007 Matthea Harvey. Reprinted from Modern Life with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Source: Modern Life (Graywolf Press, 2007)

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Poet Matthea Harvey b. 1973

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Religion, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Matthea  Harvey


Matthea Harvey was born in Germany, spent her childhood in England, and moved to Milwaukee with her family when she was eight years old. She attended Harvard as an undergraduate and the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Iowa. Her collections of poems include Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (2000), Sad Little Breathing Machine (2004), Modern Life (2007), Of Lamb (2011), and If the Tabloids . . .

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SUBJECT Religion, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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