Lament for Fyodor

by Byron Matthews

The world sculpts our words, shapes them
to reveal itself.

Dostoevsky wrote of a dog stretching
to lick the vivisectionist’s hand:

Strapped to the cutting board; the glint of the knife
in those soft eyes.

If there are words to express the pathos of that scene,
I do not know them.

Consider a world where such words quickly come to mind,
and think if you would want to live there.

For the saddest things there should be no words,
only music, only tears.

Byron Matthews left Iowa for graduate school in North Carolina, later gave up a tenured faculty position in Maryland to make furniture for ten years in Santa Fe. He lives now in the mountains east of Albuquerque with his wife, a cellist.

Back to Issue Eleven: Spring 2011