Matt Sumpter

Elegy at Low Volume

Father, worse than silence

is the fish tank bubbling


its insomnia, how every atom

of you hums unreachably,


as if through glass. Windows fog

with cloud-shaped heat:


your voice, a vapor. I dream

about the O your hand would make


around a scotch glass like a sigh.

Outside, a boy throws rocks


against a trash can lid,

and the sound arrives


exhausted, warped, less.

Only memories of you, Father,


with nowhere new to travel,

stay intact: thrumming


in my skeleton, tuning me

to your inaudible pitch.

Triolet of a Backyard Ghost

Nothing ages. The cicadas leave

their shells behind: preserved and hard-backed,

waiting to be filled. I must believe

that nothing ages, though I left,

though the birdbath won’t receive me,

and the mulch smells rabid. Though cracked

and aging, still, the gutters sing. If I can’t leave

the earth behind, I want my body back.

Matt Sumpter

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Matt Sumpter

Matt Sumpter is an MFA candidate in Poetry at The Ohio State University, where he works as an Associate Poetry Editor for The Journal. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boulevard, 32 Poems, Harpur Palate, West Branch Wired, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere.