Object Permanence

Because you haven’t yet developed faith
That what you see at nightfall will return
At dawn, when time begins again, it’s death
You nightly learn

To dread, like the recurrence of a dream
In which your father or your mother stands
And takes you (singing every time the same
Unmeaning sounds)

Upstairs into the reeling hall that slides
With horrifying slowness toward that room
Peopled with deaf-mute mammals on all sides,
Dim as the womb,

Where you are left to beg and, helpless, watch
As warmth and human touch and hope retreat
Into the dark, which, closing with a latch,
Becomes complete.

No one can hear, but you cry anyway
For more time in the world you hardly knew,
Here in the body one momentous day
We loved as you.

Matthew Buckley Smith

Matthew Buckley Smith

Matthew Buckley Smith is the author of Dirge for an Imaginary World (Able Muse 2012). His poems have appeared in AGNIBeloit Poetry JournalPoetry NorthwestThreepenny Review, and Best American Poetry. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughters.
Matthew Buckley Smith

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Author: Matthew Buckley Smith

Matthew Buckley Smith is the author of Dirge for an Imaginary World (Able Muse 2012). His poems have appeared in AGNIBeloit Poetry JournalPoetry NorthwestThreepenny Review, and Best American Poetry. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughters.