I never meant to start counting and never stop,
but if I never started I'd never have known
you to be that never girl who never wore lipstick
never even once. Happy birthday, blow out the light
again. Fold the covers again, go to the sink again,
write your name in bubble letters and ask the world
for another pair of sturdy brown shoes. Let's get this straight:
I never meant everything, but here I've said it
nevertheless. The whistle is blowing. The train is leaving.
I want to sit here by the window with you and think
about the hinges on that lonesome suitcase climbing aboard.
Clay Matthews' work is published (or will be) in Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast, Court Green, LIT, Forklift, Ohio, No Tell Motel, H_NGM_N, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Muffler, is recently out from H_NGM_N B_ _KS.