Fall 2023


By Matthew Moniz

One dragonfly alights brightly on a flat black pile.
Its thin wings catch shafts of dawn and glow
in the aftermath of glow. A red shed and yielding
fields surround the soundless mound. It is still.

No whirring there stirs the air
above dewy dust of aged pages,
spent remnants, burned words,
damp ash newly through
with meaning, leaning downwards,
wet charred soft shards lost beside the barn.

The dragonfly rises,
carrying nothing, because it can.

Base 10

    seeing 2020 (from New Year’s Day 2019)

zero, an orbit, and one, a straight path–
crowds collude to watch a round ball drop down
a straight pole with a countdown to a count
up, signifying difference from a mo-
ment ago, though only the number has
changed, flashing screens of scribbly symbols a-
greed upon to lend meaning (we impose
notions of order because that’s the on-
ly way to survive) – these circles and lines
are the pleasing base of all shapes, the found-
ation of our construction of our world
because iff we exist, we grasp at re-
ality with ten thin digits, sometimes
slipping, sometimes leaving prints, and after
all, we point with a single finger, and
a closed fist is nothing permanent – a-
mounts are concrete, but all numbers are i-
maginary, just an interface, an
arbitrary covenant (slightly like
language), and dizzying magnitudes syn-
chronize as commencements cascade across
our sphere (alongside the dropping ball) to
cheer the maturation of a year and
the start of something supposedly new
because we like round numbers and round years
(it’s comforting because we decided
it’s comforting) – but time comes in twelves (and
circles in sixes), and in this time we
reflect on the distance from where we were
an orbit ago as we decree an
absolute point and call it meaningful
(but even the sun moves further than up
and down a line across the sky, and me-
ters are meaningless in space) – our lives are
a line, but we want them to cycle – we
don’t understand our understanding, so
we round down an overwhelming mess in-
to comprehensible chunks and cele-
brate the small endings to pretend we’ll out-
last all endings – it doesn’t stop – it can’t

Matthew Moniz recently received his PhD in poetry from the University of Southern Mississippi. Originally from the DC area, he holds an MFA and MA from McNeese State University and a BA from Notre Dame. Among other national and international journals, Matt’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Iowa Review, Crab Orchard Review, Meridian, Tupelo Quarterly, Fourteen Hills, and minnesota review. He has been awarded Poetry by the Sea’s Kim Bridgford Memorial Sonnet Crown Contest prize and the SCMLA Poetry Prize and grown in workshops with Tin House and the Community of Writers. @MattMonizPoet

Fall 2023