Special Report, After Rain by Matthew Gellman

What’s left is hunt. Is father’s shirt
        quickening on the line. Is the long
                professorial praying mantis

puttering the garden, glossed
        in moonlight, waiting for dinner
                to appear and the TV rages:

men in kevlar, slithering the pocked-
        up desert for oil and uranium.
                When he was home, my father

would watch these reports
        in our living room each night,
                air strikes, drone strikes, a family

shot dark in a car, the incinerated
        minds of caves. What I have left
                is the sound of his suitcase

clattering down the stairs.
        Is his face lit up as it studied
                other faces being overriden

by flame. Lover of thrashing,
        of the factless thrust, the barrel
                cocked by someone else’s son,

never the quiet gesturer pausing
        to look up at the bulletless moon,
                never standing barefoot in wet grass

to watch this smaller hunter
        devour the aphid, killing to stay
                alive, killing only because it must.



Matthew Gellman’s poems are featured in Poetry Northwest, Narrative, The Common, the Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, the Nashville Review and elsewhere. He is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize and a Brooklyn Poets fellowship. In 2018, Matthew was a finalist for Narrative‘s Tenth Annual Poetry Prize and for the Missouri Review‘s Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize, and was included in Narrative‘s ’30 below 30’ list. He holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives in New York City, where he teaches at Hunter College and the Fashion Institute of Technology.