“Foe” by Matthew Chamberlin

Hidden under sheets of ice

invisible as dreams in glass

comes smoldering behind, my foe

who shoulders fire and steel aside,

rides elevators high and low

and sneers at all the waking world.

I hide on night-trains filled with ghosts

—which glide like snakes

—who lurch unseen

among the pillars, thin and lost.

No mouth, no mind but eyes that scream.

A hissing bus, a subway howl.

No name that I recall but sheds

bright rays like skins that flood within

and touch inside,

sink down to bone

and out again.

He prowls the ledges roofs and platforms,

leaving husks of those he’s been.

Burns a trail through the city,

smoking in and out of hours

lost and wretched,

strewn across the starry night—


Matthew Chamberlin lives in Virginia, where he also writes.

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