Matty Bennett

NPR SAYS THIS IS CUFFING SEASON

Sheets of ice, everywhere. Or, maybe,
future ocean waves lapping against our feet.

Winter, even at its cruelest, brings contingence,
and, gratefully, my affinity for you. In retrospect,

I’m glad I spent three years playing pool in bars
instead of writing poems. The ice, it’s fine.

My shoes have no traction. I will pull you down
with me, if I get the chance. Beams of headlights,

merging, edifying us in the street. Yes, I’ll admit,
I am artless, a clodhopper, if you will—touch me

anywhere. There is so much I need to tell you,
like how my hands, cracked and cold, smoldered

when I shut your car door, when I walked up
my east side steps, alone, when I scrolled

through hundreds of men, solitary, still, and, also,
how you are, all at once, everything I want

and completely unknown to me. I want to put
my bare hands on the ice, speed up this process.

Side-step. Oncoming traffic. Your steady hand, slowly
dismantling a giant Jenga tower, and then, relief.

LGBTQ SUPPORT GROUP:
BRUSH MOUNTAIN ROOM B

You could call us a circle, sure,
but only if we sit in one. Together,
phones away and eyes up, pierced,
we are ready for something to take
place. To you, we are just a square
room, maybe, with gray and maroon
carpets and twenty rolling chairs.
To us, this is where our arms extend
from our hearts, and form a collective
“Go team!” Maybe. Here we say: here is
everything that has happened to us, or
we stay silent. Maybe you could call us
healing, the circles under our eyes fading,
like a lover’s whisper just before slumber.

Maybe you could say we were created
because someone committed suicide.
Beauty out of tragedy or something.
To someone in an office, we are a box
to check off: an i to dot, a t to cross. We
are Brush Mountain Room B. The white
walls, the white men in the picture frames.
We are this room, nothing else. We are
Monday nights, but you could call us
awkward looks as we pass each other
elsewhere. We are not elsewhere.
We open the door, silently form
a circle with the rolling chairs, and
we will eventually say: welcome.

Author Portrait

Matty Bennett is a special education teacher and high school track coach in Providence, Rhode Island. He is a 2017 Teach For America corps member. He received his MFA in poetry from Virginia Tech in 2016. He is the founder and former editor-in-chief of The Interloper, Virginia Tech’s LGBTQ magazine. His poetry has appeared in Philadelphia Gay News, IO Lit, and Lit-Tapes.