OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 

Matty Layne Glasgow

How to be strong

                                         Truth is
           I cry for weeks at a time.
Truth is
my cheeks tasted of saline
                 long before
my mother died, flushed & full
                               of something
like shame. My eyes needed to
let go.
        I’ve been told not to break
                                a line
without forethought, but
                   melancholia doesn’t
come on like that. Some of us
never learned
to smile & mean it.

                                      If I could,

I wouldn’t
be writing this poem, so I’m
                                      gonna let
it feel like it doesn’t need to be
                         a man, to be
brave.  I’m gonna let this poem
lie
           in the fetal position in its
apartment for days

                                 not knowing

when
             or if
                       it will move again.

grounded

at seven, I learned

the law of gravity:

eyes pulled down-

ward to feathers

to wings splayed up-

on the grass & fire-

dusted chest to sky

like ants spilling

from those empty

eyes, & when I fell

i saw the clouds be-

neath my feet. how the

world refused to stay

in place. it still falls &

crawls where it does

not belong—in hills

in mounds fashioned

of feather & bone.

Matty Layne Glasgow is the author of the forthcoming collection deciduous qween, selected by Richard Blanco as the winner of the 2017 Benjamin Saltman Award with Red Hen Press. Matty’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Missouri Review, Crazyhorse, BOAAT, Muzzle Magazine, The Collagist, Rattle, and elsewhere. He currently reads poetry for The Adroit Journal.