“bluets” by Lora Mathis

There is a poem
about forgiveness I have
been trying to write, but
don’t know how to. So instead
I talk about the wild blueberry
patch in my grandmother’s backyard.
How she spent
the summer in the country watering them,
picking them, making them into
jam. How she would hum softly under
her breath in French. How her
hands would brush over the berries
as gently as they outlined the heads of her children.

After her 81st birthday, the home was too much work
for her to maintain alone
so her son sold it to
a young couple who wanted to visit
the country on weekends. The night
she put the keys in the couples’ hands,
she fell asleep listening to soft French songs
and not humming along.

By the time she was 82, the blueberry patch
was overgrown; untended to, unloved.
She swore off blueberries for most of that Summer,
but one day in July,
she took the bus to the grocery store,
and bought three bushels of them.
That afternoon, she sang Ne Me Quitte Pas
loudly as she filled the counters with fresh-baked
blueberry pies. I found her at night with a slice in hand
and a smile on her face. She offered one to me as she said,
This is how to move on.
This is how you mourn what you loved
and forgive yourself for losing it.

bluets, Lora Mathis


Find Lora on Twitter AND …. Check out Lora’s very first full-length book of poetry, The Women Widowed to Themselves, available now on Amazon.

The Women Widowed to Themselves by Lora Mathis
The Women Widowed to Themselves by Lora Mathis (click photo to view on Amazon)


PS- Lora is currently raising funds for a new computer, so if you love Lora’s work and would like Lora to help you with a poem or even send you a hand-written poem, check out the various ways you can help each other. (I do not know how long Lora will be offering these services, so if you read this in the archives later just know it is all subject to Lora’s discretion.) -Christy

“I Am Not The Sea” by Lora Mathis

I Am Not The Sea

I’m meeting boys who like Charles Bukowski and they all want to do brutal things to my body. They tell me they buy a bottle of whiskey whenever they get one of his books and don’t stop reading till they’ve gone through a pack of cigarettes. They blow smoke in my face and say, “He was the outcast king of L.A. Did you know that, huh?” “Yeah, yeah, I know.” I say,“He’s great.”

A new boy gives me a worn copy of On the Road and thinks he’s being original. “We should explore the road together. Would you like that, baby?” I take a sip of my water and look away. Yes, I’d like that, I think. But he’s drunk and imagining himself sixty years earlier, in the back of a bar, sweating to the sound of live bop. Still, I prefer him to the hungry boy that devoured my shirt and said, “You have a tattoo? What’s it say?” ‘mad to live?’ What, are you angry about living? Aw, I’m just kidding, come here, let me take off that bra.”

The next boy I kiss doesn’t read. I ask him to come to a bookstore with me and he stays outside, sighing. He has no interest in words. He has no interest in me. I am thankful for him. For a few weeks, I am able to shed my habit of thinking obsessively and become a duller, rougher version of myself. I dump him when my fingers start turning imaginary pages in my sleep.

I go on a date with a boy who knows I like to write. He calls himself a fan of mine and swears he’s read every word I’ve put down. “You’ve got this voice that’s very modern, but also so classic.” I choke on my water as he says, “I read you to fall asleep.” At night, I listen to him pant metaphors and compare my mouth to the sea. One day, he stumbles across my journal and finds nothing about himself in it. “You don’t really love me, do you?” I shake my head. There is no use pretending anymore. He has read my poems about the boys I want to drown in me. His goodbye leaves my hands covers in ink. He wanted me so badly to be the sea, when all I am is a girl who writes poetry.

I try my best to become poetry. I take a bath and stain the water with black ink. I cut my hair in a motel sink. I cry for people I have never met. I start smoking cigarettes. I use words like “presumptuously” and talk about “post-modernist new wave.” I walk the streets at 4 a.m. and smile at people coming home from a rave. I wear sunglasses indoors. I carry a 500 page volume of poems wherever I go. I drink coffee instead of water. I talk about the “advantages of using film and listening to records.” But no matter how hard I try, I am not the sea. I am a sunken ship that has drowned in everyone who touched me.

– “I Am Not the Sea” by Lora Mathis (Twitter @loramathiz)


Update: Check out Lora’s very first full-length book of poetry, The Women Widowed to Themselves, available now on Amazon.