Two Poems by Matthew Gellman
Author: Poetry Editor
October 6, 2015
This week, two poems by Matthew Gellman.
At sleep-away camp, most nights of the week,
we’d all walk back from the showers together
and talk about girls across the lake
—loudly, so that each boy was heard—
while always a smiling, sopping-wet boy
would run up behind me and yank off my towel,
waving it over his head like a prize while
the rest of them laughed and turned to watch me
chase him through the gold-streaked field.
I was twelve. What I remember now
are nights in the cabin after lights out,
when that same gangly, moonlit boy
would sneak down onto my sweat-spotted mattress
and press his forehead into my neck, nights
when I didn’t dare move in closer
to take off his clothes or whisper his name,
nights when we laid there while everyone slept
and felt the first surges of sun-red desire
swelling inside of us, rippling warmer
than summer lake water, more unprotected
than my body in the field and clanging
in our small chests louder than the bell
that broke us apart when we all woke for breakfast.
IN THE CAFE
I didn’t expect him to meet me there,
two o’clock ticking slowly towards three.
But when I lifted my head from the table,
from the newspaper I was reading that day,
I saw a strange light fall over the rug
and his face in the doorway, behind swinging glass.
That body whose scent I had craved each night
like a dog in summer, sniffing for the moon–
A rose, sitting two tables over, exploded.
Slender, boyish, he ordered some coffee.
MATTHEW GELLMAN is a recent graduate of Skidmore College. He has interned at Poets House and is now pursuing an MFA at Columbia University.