Back to Issue Eight.

Common Birds



What could I tell you
of bombs? I don’t know
their mechanics—
how to sheathe lightning,
what it takes. What it takes.
Years before I learned to drive—
in an ’88 Jeep Wrangler
manual, three-on-a-tree shifter
seats rusted to the floor,
I spent two days in a classroom.
No one spoke. We watched
fire replay itself over and over.
Our bodies not grown—hearts pumping
blood, a hundred thousand miles
of vessels woven around each bone.
On the televisions, towers fell
and re-fell every half hour,
the mindless collapse as sure
as waves pulled to shore.
I know nothing of bombs,
of dark eyed light jewels
over a desert loaded
with explosives and silence.
What I could tell you—those birds
in the yard each winter are juncos.
See how they move like ash
through the forest, through
manicured lawns?

Matthew Wimberley is a Starworks Fellow and MFA candidate at New York University. A finalist for the 2012 Narrative 30 Below Contest, and the 2013 Organic Weapon Arts David Blair Memorial Chapbook Prize, his writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, The Greensboro Review, Puerto Del Sol, The Paris-American and Connotation Press, where his poems were introduced by Dorianne Laux. Wimberley grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his two dogs and spent March and April of 2012 driving across the country. A Localist poet, he currently resides in Brooklyn where he is completing his first book length manuscript All the Great Territories.