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Image by Annie Spratt

Accidental Release

We walk in whispers along the marsh. Her little index finger over lips signaling bunny ahead. In a grove of poplars and oaks we rest and watch. A red-tailed hawk is tucked away. Silent, staring. We talk of grandpa—now in another place. A sudden gush of wings. She watches a bunny carried in talons.

After tears, after hugs, her hatred of hawks remains. We speak of life and death, the nature of things. She nods with understanding. I add one day I, too, will be carried off by a hawk. The metaphor lost in her tears.

school field trip
the rainbow ahead
an oil sheen

Pottery Studio

I start by modeling my early self
complete with head, torso, arms
legs, even genitalia, like
on the old Roman statues.
Lately this is becoming a deconstruction
project. Family and society imposing their
rules. A parental wire cutter slices off sticky hands.
Even my legs have to go—keep bounding away from
ethics lectures. And with religious guilt and too much
testosterone the model is emasculated. Society and
all its constraints sand off my lips, nose and ears.
Too much of this and that— the seconds of wine,
chocolate, the dirty stories filling my ears, and
the luring smells and inhales of what I’m told
I shouldn’t. What’s left of me is shaped
more like an urn. Today I’ll fill its
hollowness with the missing rest
of me, seal it, send it off
on a burning raft.

Richard L. Matta grew up in New York’s rustic Hudson Valley, attended Notre Dame, practiced forensic science, and now lives in San Diego with his golden-doodle dog where they spend many hours boating on the bay. Some of his work is found in San Pedro River Review, Dewdrop, New Verse News, Gyroscope, and Healing Muse



  1. Editors’ Picks of 2023 – Poetry | THE WILD WORD - […] ‘Accidental Release’ by Richard L. Matta […]

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