by Matt Stevenson

The Dead Men

Somewhere in Michigan there’s a few hundred
men buried in the woods. Some with their
heads shot off; others have just lost limbs. A few
are burned, their bodies so unrecognizably melted.

There’s an old game trap in a field. The pit with
pointed sticks has probably long since caved in.
Next to that, a forgotten civilization underground.

In thicket, underneath the rusted farm equipment
is a sealed plastic bag, all full of old
Victoria’s Secret Catalogues. Presumably, water has
gotten the best of these.

Laying on the bottom of the marsh are a few
muskrat traps, forgotten on the ice in
the winter.

Along the abandoned train tracks, six
strategically placed foxholes, each more
elaborate than the next, protecting a
failed tree house.

At the bottom of the pond out front,
another hundred dead men, a dozen sunken
popsicle stick and egg carton warships all
stoned to oblivion.

Under the pine trees lining the driveway,
the remnants of a tank, a charred action
figure, and my dead dog.


Just beyond that ridge where
the river settles and the morels
grow is a man. He’s waiting for me
just beyond the trees. His name
is Hibler, he has an apple
and nice book waiting for me.

About the Author:

Matt Stevenson is the winner of The Big Snowy Prize in Fiction and has been published in The Montana Quarterly, Cosumnes River Journal, Lily Poetry Review, and many more.