Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 51
harvest moon, 2023

Featured artwork, Cheeseburger Picnic, by Chris Mars

new works

Michelle Matthees

Gardening in Split

The time of desperate cabbage is over. Nonetheless, it reseeds itself in the old socialist plots, those concrete fortifications against famine. The misshapen heads are pale and short on water, long on the weeds of distraction. Who can remember the bad times? Were they even bad? The plot next door offers a freshly planted fruit tree, the soil around it hoed, dark and plump. It also holds some lime-yellow blades of grass, dead siblings, waving here and there.


Your childish, careful hands and your eyes. Then rest. Again. Like Noah, you are building a ship so that someone will have something to board once it begins. Insert tab A into slot A. The gigantic paper ship has just begun to know itself that whole long Saturday afternoon. You know that your father might kill your mother. You have no say. Isn’t this an old story? You keep building, inserting tab Z into slot Z while outside waves of snow twist and buckle into doves and oblivion.

Michelle Matthees is the author of two book-length collections of poetry: "Complicated Warding," about institutionalization circa 1900, and "Flucht," about adoption, Eastern Europe, and Russia. A graduate of the University of Minnesota MFA Program, she has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and The Jerome Foundation. More information about her work is available at www.michellematthees.com.