Matthew Haughton was raised in eastern Kentucky, where his lineage stretches back over a century in the region. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, he works as an artist and educator in Lexington Kentucky. Most recently, he was a finalist with honorable mention in the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning’s Next Great Writer Competition. His poetry has appeared in literary issues of magazines such as Kentucky Monthly. His written work focuses on the unique quality of life, community, and nature observed in Kentucky.



 Waking, we’d hear
 our mother sing
 with the radio:

 … don’t it
  my brown
  eyes blue.

 Inside, we felt
 a humming
 bird egg,
 snake rattle

 the curve of
 life, shaping.

 The heart opens
 to hills, rivers.

 Country music,





Grass tips pierce
the snow,
like fine hair
on a girl’s arm.
Under a frost
skin, a horse
gallops through
the pasture.
The history of
the world
can be read
on his body,
as he shakes
ice-hash off
his neck
and follows
his stride
over snowfall.
If he dies, he’ll
pass through
fire, leaving
the shape of
his body,
as the soul
making his way
in short leaps.





“Those are walking sticks”
  my brother told me
  as I lost sight of one,
  crawling on a branch.

“I call them roly-polies”
  he said, after I lifted
  a stone. “but they’re 
  really called sowbugs.”


  Back in the woods,
  I lose myself
  in the strip-mines,
  the creek brings
  me down a hill.
  I find empty husks
  clustered under
  a branch, a turtle
  shell in the grass.

  I ask my giver of names
  to let me be a carver
  of words, let me shape
  names back into the bark.