Michelle Matthees



It was a hard restart. The red needle fell under the levels of measurement deep inside the rock’s sparkle before the light called it, without shimmer. Without a miss. As if the childhood’s chalkboard had been cleaned by a professional over winter break. It was an opening of doorlight. Her voice said, “We’ve got a pulse” and I was grateful for this nothing, so very grateful as the chalk ticked and dusted the blank black, as I reformed one of the harder letters in cursive, alone.

Untitled, photograph by Jonathan Morse (click to enlarge)

Icon at the Women’s Hospital, St. Bogorodica Bolnička, Ohrid


The woman waits to speak. This is where the sick have come to the gloom tinged with maroon, a dove, and jackdaw in the courtyard unflinching. In the icon, the boy gets to wear orange. I think I see a wing back there. Perhaps he’s already dead. Perhaps everyone in the icons is dead. Did they refuse the healing? That’s what goes on behind closed doors. Sacraments. Don’t look if you want to trust the situation at hand.

Michelle Matthees’ poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the Baltimore Review, Memorious, Superstition Review, J Journal, and Conduit. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota creative writing program and has received grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Her first book-length collection, Flucht, is available from New Rivers Press.