Two boys lie in the meadow
making their own story out of daylight.
The grass where they talk half-asleep
is freckled with mustard seed. This is not
a story of wanting to be a woman,
or wanting to go home; this is a story
of two boys’ hair getting longer
and the sun shining on their fingertips.
One of them talks about childhood,
the sister who wasn’t born,
and the sound of his mother’s voice
when the birds finally came out.
He puts his head in the other boy’s lap.
The summer treats them kindly.
Outside the classroom, it is winter.
The trees are spoken in a leaner language,
and the light is too brittle to resemble
a green river, a passing train, a boy.
The bell rings. The student
puts away his pencil and his drawing
so no one will see it. He is learning
silence this way, winter’s rule.
MATTHEW GELLMAN’s poems are featured or forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Narrative, The Common, Passages North, Ninth Letter, the Nashville Review and elsewhere. He is the recipient of awards and honors from the Academy of American Poets, the New York State State Summer Writers Institute and the Vermont Studio Center. In 2018, Matthew was awarded a Brooklyn Poets fellowship and was included in Narrative’s 30 below 30 list, and was a finalist for Narrative’s Tenth Annual Poetry Contest and the Missouri Review’s Jeffrey E Smith Editor’s Prize for Poetry. He holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives in New York, where he teaches at Hunter College and the Fashion Institute of Technology.