Matthew Haughton 

Tobacco Fields

Miranda asked:
how came we ashore?
the ocean is nowhere
to be found.
Only tobacco 
springs from the earth,
and beyond
their leaves,
orchards of weeds
for miles more.
Closer to my door,
launch in the high,
unkept grass.
Moths surrender
to the light 
behind the window.
This land 
is rich with lonely 
some of them
are neighbors,
others just stories.
They sleep,
with a heaviness 
from being 
raised in this country.  


Good Omen

This morning
I found a grasshopper
on my door;
I’d like to think
his presence
was meant
to be taken
as a good omen,
a warm snap 
in this time 
of remembrance.

Walking outside,
the early 
light was thin
for my eyes
to count
a hundred more,

the air on their cedar 
wing tips,

their bodies 
over the ripe June Grass.


Cornbread, Milk, and Onion

                                     for D.M. Wakefield 

It says something about the way
I’ve lived — 
what I’ve been taught,
that come Spring
all I want  
is cornbread with milk,
and onion 
raw enough to still taste thick.
This morning,
I watched a neighbor 
lay mulch 
after a week’s worth of rain.
He said:
it’s that time of year again,
but I could barely hear him
for the level
of birdsong and mower blades.
I’ve come to appreciate
how this world 
is aware
of its own reconciliation, 
how in the closer earth 
our conversations
are one small part of the hum.
I was taught to make 
a ritual out of cornbread, 
milk, and onion.
Come Spring,
they are enough to fill my gut.


Matthew Haughton's latest book of poetry is Stand in the Stillness of Woods (WordTech Editions). His chapbook, Bee-coursing Box (Accents Publications) was nominated for the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Poetry Book of the Year. His poems have appeared in many journals including Appalachian Heritage, The Four Way Review, Still: The Journal, Border Crossing, and The Louisville Review. He is currently a student at the Bread Loaf School of English, where he is on a generous fellowship from the C.E. and S. Foundation. Haughton works as a school teacher in his native Kentucky and recently co-founded a digital literary journal for Kentucky high school students, Westwood.


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