Matthew James Babcock

October 20, 2017 Babcock Matthew James


“…has created the type of autonomous picture, which leads, without motifs from nature to
 a completely abstract life form…as a Bach fugue is from a carpet.”––Paul Klee


Stepping off the door lintel, down onto the grass as the day closed around us, grass, rising up inside its own squared green,––she walked backwards, walked backwards, slow full length of the long lawn to the blue Volkswagen Bug, waved and folded herself inside where her husband and two children waited. No smell or sound in memory’s stranded interior. I don’t think she smiled. Mouth closed, hair loose, hands open, facing mother and me. Nothing else is moving and the sky is so far, so far an abstract irrelevance. I stared and stared back for as many years as I could stand, her escaping face in its stages of flowering and deflowering from the frame, since it was the last time time afforded us her face, its pale proof and myth, its core of rain held off from the picture now black and white beneath us and that full body of trees remaining years into spine and thigh, into skull, into the lungs, hair flickering out like reversed candlelight in the river stir, rain kicking itself back in radio static and dragged chair, her father’s, my father’s lynched cough down the hall. She told mother at the beach that she saw herself buried in a dream in the water years before, her children like pendulums hung from the singing mast of her own voice. She would go out alone to a class and wedding, the sky bearing its impatient weight over her and everything that could be named there. In its random order the rain would then come that night, hard, flooding on a year in a place where rain never reigns or raises cars or shapes a silence in its loud punishment mettle scrawl across its own carnal ambition but would and did and made moan and cage and bad of it.

Matthew James Babcock is the author of two books of poetry: Points of Reference (Folded Word) and Strange Terrain (Mad Hat Press). His essay collection, Heterodoxologies, was recently released from Educe Press. His debut fiction collection, Future Perfect, is forthcoming from Engine/Ferry Street Books. He has received the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Award and the Juxtaprose Poetry Award.