Matthew Burns


The fog in
my throat:
zero — zero
being nothing
but, like
the past:
still there
and affecting.

Breath of
sky — my
visible breath
both unraveling
from and back
into grumbling

Exhale, breath;
this is
where it ends,
round and

The air:
perfect, equal
on either
side of
my chest
in the morning.

Under the mass
of sky
laid low
and appearing
now is something,
we can see.

This must be
what welcomes us
as ghosts.

The Border

We have no way of indicating where
one location ends and another begins…
                                         —The Onion, March 25, 2015

or whatever belongs
anywhere. We have somehow,
in haste and hubris, walked
into a deep night.
Right now I am reaching

for some tree or signpost
or mile marker that sticks
in the heavy dark.
If this is what
tomorrow will be,

then let me fall
into some lost stupor.
The line I drew
across the map of my life
last night has gone to dust,

and I am now nothing
but the sum of every assumption
and guess made in the dark.
I am dumb.
I will confide in you,

my friend, my concierge,
my brother conspirator:
whatever meant something
last night now means little
beyond the menial and greedy.

Don’t listen to me;
it is raining, and I am filled
with the white space
of erasure as sheep
are filled with grass in spring.

That is: wholly. Here.
Let me say what I think
I mean: It looks like rain
on the road tonight —
there is rain on the road tonight.

Matthew Burns teaches writing and literature in upstate New York. His poems have won a James Hearst Poetry Prize from North American Review, received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations, and have appeared or are forthcoming in RHINO, ellipsis…, The Raleigh Review, Camas, Spoon River Poetry Review, Quiddity, LimeHawk, and others.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.