elegy, at a car seat headrest show, by Matthew Mitchell

we / who are falling apart / salute these bodies
soon to be dead / falling forward & backwards
in a sea of twenty-thousand pounds of flannel /
lake erie air breaking through the cracks in the ceiling /
our backs glowing like light from the restroom door /
our arms are fluorescent amulets from the bar full of dudes
who miss old rock ‘n’ roll / & the air is wet & hot & sticky /
& we are singing louder than the city / i am a straight boy’s
metaphor / & we are all here for this rust belt baptism /
& i am nuzzled up to a guy who once went to my high
school / who is now wearing a denim vest with a
no queers patch on the back / & i know he doesn’t
remember who i am / or that time he shoulder-checked me
in the hallway / & whispered faggot into my ear /
uncoil the sweetest strands of my dna / stretch them around this
crowd / make them all write me a love letter / that looks a lot
like that text vest guy once sent me / talking about how much he
thought about the way / my dick presses against my jeans when i’m
sitting down / rewire my spine like a gps to follow will toledo’s
fingers up & down the fretboard of his guitar / while he sings about
loving another man to a crowd of clevelanders / who dismiss that
tingle beneath their zippers / as tremors from that time the
cuyahoga river burned / please take me to the floor beneath this pit /
where my body can be flattened / under four-hundred feet / & i
can finally stop convincing myself / there’s a reason to stay


—Published 18th April 2019


About Matthew Mitchell

Matthew Mitchell is an intersex Northeast Ohio poet trying to make his work as beautiful and wondrous as Vince Carter’s 360-Windmill dunk in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.