By Matthew Schultz
We split wood and stack logs along the property line
as summer retreats across the lake. We’ll make a fire
tonight. There will be boots and flannel shirts, coffee
in enamel mugs as bitter as September’s pallid pull.
Kids are walking up the hill between the long grasses,
their slight dirt path worn wide by daily parades to the
beach and back––each trip eroding their need of us. Cold
creeps in and the weightlessness of august youth grays.
Our hands are tired from the work, but we find each other
in the spreading glow, like Andromeda and the Milky Way
reaching out across the great expanse, hoping to connect
in this cosmic wilderness––bizarre and bleak and brutal.
The dogs come closer to the warmth and lie at our feet
as if we were royalty, as if any of this mattered at all. And
we look out upon our small, ephemeral kingdom beneath
the reassuring stars still flickering like ancestral campfires.
About the Author: Matthew Schultz is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of two novels: On Coventry and We, The Wanted. Matt’s recent poetry appears in Olney Magazine, Second Chance Literature, and Taco Bell Quarterly. His chapbook, Parallax, if forthcoming from 2River Press this fall, and his prose-poem collection, Icaros, is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in May 2022.