Matthew Sherling

IN WONDER VALLEY

the wobbly blue fence,
the huge bent shadows cast
on gravel & scorpion imprints,
dented gas cans, ashy sand piles,
massive pastures of brittle, leaning trees,
bean pots, kids’ jeans
with dried snot on abandoned plots
of rotting trash heaps, feral cats
staring at feral rats
with missing teeth, carseats
hung on barbed wire,
car tires ceremoniously worshipping
& damning the sun,
unwearable sandals, calcified balls
of gum, shotguns buried
under remodeled patios,
the ratio of powerlines to stop signs,
of clocks to time
which melts in a truncated bath tub,
a fly that keeps trying to fly
into my mouth.

IN 29 PALMS

2 roads diverged in a desert,
& i took the one
that led to a rock oasis
where each rock is like
an old man who never leaves
his couch but never
turns on the TV.

RETREAT

i spent a weekend with strangers.
our first rule was
no one could use their cellphones
unless to call someone
in the group.
our second was
if anyone asked a question,
they had to ask everyone.
third & final was
everyone was rocks
that had been
endlessly shaped by water.

THERE’S A FENCE AROUND THIS IMMEDIATE IMMENSITY

i spent all day poking holes
in the fence, just big enough
to fit my head thru.
i have built a platform at the top
of the fence
where i can lie down forever,
waiting for the wind to push me off,
waiting for the wind
to place me.