Samo je Početak Already there is a man in my mouth waiting to lay eggs in my throat & tend to them until they hatch waiting to pull any golden thread that might echo the pipes I’ve taught the wind to love so much already we are destined for what awaits us as time plucks the petals your mother & mine know this too well as our fathers are injured or disappearing in hospital beds only the ghost of a sheet remains or a scar that aches too often already my resentment hardens in my lifelines narrowing the pathways that move hopes & dreams throughout my body while your anger slowly lumps into breast tissue that bothers you monthly samo je početak the possibility lingers that the golden hour has moved past us that the war your father fought & the sickness of my own pave the way before us waiting in ambush a tiger with the scent of blood in the air waiting with widened eyes ~ Maladies in Present-Continuous Tense Of all things this is what I’ve chosen to tell you about the world -Norman Dubie in the cool dark of morning entangled in sheets I dream the tongue my mother gave me has switched places with my other-mother’s & there I was required to write ten sentences in English to prove my inner-understanding of present-continuous tense I am writing about my dreams again because the state of my nation is shambling in the eaves of madmen who are branching off of the same tree & I am planting Datura in my garden so as to always have one foot in the grave I am not saying I would simply that the people I know are dying & how long before my name is next on the list of unspeakable vanishings & maladies are wrapping me in dreams about being lost in a cityscape unable to find my way home when suddenly the night is leaking all over everything while the stars have begun construction with jackhammers on the foundation of my sanity & if this is losing then may I bow out with enough grace to summon one last glory glory hallelujah for the temple is crumbling & there is desert before us as far as the eyes can will themselves without succumbing to despair I have & will continue to despair for the home that once was I will beg on my knees for these maladies to unseat this worry & instead break the morning with sweat ~ The Dog Has Learned to Talk the way the sky has learned the sun & the clouds a language of falling water how wondrous unbelievable outrageous even that our vocal chords make the music of the people here that we with our Cerberus-tongues might grow another what else is to be expected of our lazy kind an over-thick waist & minds in shadow no we lap at whatever music flows from the mouths around us echoes in dance of the upturned roofs of this ancient cityscape from whatever howls for want of connection we’ve learned to walk in dance to point with our paws we are of the streets wild & glad for even the slightest sound of attention so let us bow & wretch our vocal chords for some bewildering mimicry simple requests: what is the measure word for being taken aback? What shape must we make with our vocal chords to be more than a talking dog? ~ Mother Hurt Like a Typhoon wake to rain in the endless days of typhoon tears another season to wonder about the birds who are finally singing again no men brandishing jackhammers like machine guns this morning the pounding in my skull comes from the wonder of suffering our mothers’ have endured in the stifling heat of also tender four letter thing so easily reduced to three that must then move through us like a river splitting its head in the clouds coming down in streams I am cold from behind but you turn to hold me my sweet big spoon eyes closed the black back of my eyelids plays fractal orchestra & wonder how far through us these rivers run to get away from their hurt we-are-our-mothers we-are-not-our-mothers easy petals pulled as if we might consider our way out of the reality that the hurt they’ve known has carved us river-bed smooth hoping we can ebb into the endless grace of never having to know ~ As Good As Bread Almić you are as good as bread I wake in the night & my mouth waters for you I smell you & the entire world disappears there is nothing as simple as how good you are & when you rise my day is better & when you don’t calm is the sea of my joy because you are though we inhabit a breadless land we will someday return to the hills where bread is had at every meal where being as good as bread is understood by all where your mother never throws bread away even if there is a new loaf in hand my love you are as good as bread the only one I ever truly hunger for ~ Matt Schroeder is a poet and educator currently existing in the great humidity that is southern China. His poetry can be found in Thin Air Magazine, The Rush, Dovecote Magazine, Poetry Lab Shanghai, The Decadent Review, Fearsome Critters Magazine, and in Art in the Time of COVID-19 from San Fedele Press. When he is not writing, he enjoys making friends with the other strays.