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City Slicker Goes Countryside 

The crisscrossing gnaws of beavers downing noble trees 

Sounds like the drills of construction crews on the BQE. 

Out here, the backpackers who dwell and traverse these woods,

Leaving society’s grid, decided themselves to escape the margins, 

And they live on the fat fruit of the forest’s floor, like John the Baptist. 

The sonnets of unseen birds, hidden in branches high above, somewhere up there,

Take the place of music blaring through windows and speakers.

The dense canopy blots out the sun, like towers and walkway scaffolding.  

The bumper-to-bumper commotion of gridlock traffic,

Where drivers run the red lights of the hamster wheel, 

Is nothing compared to scurrying squirrels, fleeing to the underbrush,

And out of the grasp of an owl’s approaching talons. 


In the countryside, 

In all its browns, yellows, reds, blacks, and whites, 

Reminds me of the best part of major cities. 

There is solace in the forest.

MatthewJHeadshot 2022.JPG

Matthew is a northern transplant living in NC and a MA graduate of UNC-Greensboro. A former sports journalist and editor who wrote for the USA Today College and The Daily Star (Oneonta, NY), his poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming Maudlin House, The Roanoke Review, the Maryland Literary Review, Front Porch Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. He's a two-time Best of the Net Nominee and his debut collection, 'Shadow Folks and Soul Songs', (Kelsay Books) was released in 2019. His second poetry collection is scheduled for release in Fall 2022 by New York Quarterly. Find him at @Matt_Johnson_D on Twitter & 

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