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Matthew James Friday


Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: The Brasilia Review (Brazil), Dawntreader (UK), New Contrast (South Africa) and Poetry Salzburg (Austria). Two micro-chapbooks, titled All the Ways to Love and Waters of Oregon were published by The Origami Poems Project (USA).

What the Spider Knows

It hangs on a hotel window,
over a still canal reflecting
the dough-rolled Dutch sky,

It knows nothing about
the gander guarding goslings
feeding on the canal bank,
neck arched, head flicking.

It knows nothing about
ducks clapping through the air,
the planes landing at Schipol
a constant thread of steel.

It knows about its web which
it painstakingly threads, tightens,
to catch all those who fly.

Make a New Nest

Fresh from leaving Germany,
we summer retreat with my wife’s
parents in White Salmon, resting
broken wings before the next take-off.

The first three stumbling days
my father-in-law takes us to
the Historic Columbia River Highway,
to the secret spot handed down

from friend to friend: sixth white
fence, flattened grass, exact gap
in the treeline to find what most
passing bikers and runners miss:

an eagle’s nest, the champion
of tree homes, a huge hand to hold
one metre tall overgrown fledgling,
late to leave, leaping between

branches to balance, wobbling
in the hot winds, unfolding
sedimentary wings to practise
tidal pumping of air through earth

feathers. The currents call her but
she’s not willing to let go, claws clinging
to mother wood, folding wings back
under water. Bald white head four

years away. Instead she sits, stares
past the suspicious absence of siblings,
over the groaning State highway,
the white flecked river, bankside

lumber and fruit factories, sewage
ponds and pipes, and peeking
over the high yellow hills the bald,
ancient white head of Mount Adams.

A week later, with talk of our departure
we ride the River Highway again.
Rumour’s she s left but there she is,
treading the nest while a parent

looks on from a higher branch, wise
white head still. Suddenly her wings
open and she leaps, leaving the nest,
estuary wide wings flattening out.

The parent looks on, unmoved,
knowing the reward is the empty nest,
chick growing distant. We are jealous
and hesitant to leave, find our new tree.

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