A sample from NDQ 85: Clay Matthew’s “clutch”:


at the transmission shop talking with an old man
who tells me about his bad hip, the pipe that blew
from his semi and knocked all his teeth out, his boy
running a crotch rocket into a van, steel rods
screwed into his legs, then riding again.
none of this amazes me as much as him telling me
how he microwaves his cigarettes for ten seconds
to make them burn better, and how his wife microwaves them
too long and the nicotine drips down on the plate.
i’m just here to get a quote on a clutch, but it’s cold
and snowy out, a slow day, so he keeps me
every time i motion to leave with another story.
listen here, bub, he says. we’ve all got problems.
how right he is, i think, even as the plows outside
clear a path for us laden with salt.


Clay Matthews has published poetry in journals such as The American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. His most recent book, Shore, was published by Cooper Dillon Books. His other books are Superfecta (Ghost Road Press), RUNOFF (BlazeVox), and Pretty, Rooster (Cooper Dillon).



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