Thursday Poem

Two poems by William Matthews:

Night Driving

You follow into their dark tips
those two skewed tunnels of light.
Ahead of you, they seem to meet.
When you blink, it is the future.

The Calculus

. . There is a culture which counts like this: “one,
two, many.” It is sufficient. They don’t use numbers
to measure. There are so many women your wife
gets pushed out of bed. Everyone knows without a
name for it how many dead men a camel can carry.
There is so little light the dark part of each eye
grows knuckle-size.
. . The invention of zero will end their life. They don’t
say “no moon tonight”; they say “the moon is
gone.” We can add this egg of absence to anything
—then we are richer.

from Sleek for the Long Flight
Random House, 1972, 1988