Matt Schumacher

mooncalf are you out there

I sometimes think I glimpse a thriving thing
far more alive than humans

I know it in a snowstorm
its story told by lightning bolt
or shooting star

an organism unassuming as a dewdrop
a soul old as a sequoia

silent as a valley just past dusk
sun descending behind shadowhills

it mends the sky with lavender
its slow rose opens into alpenglow

fitful as a field of fireflies
hypnotic as a moondrunk chasm

in its eyeshine at night I can see
many unidentified wild animals

at midday its supreme aquamarine gleam
the glint of fins and scales
leaping in the sun on its lustrous skin

rare songbird
its laughter establishes
a vast root system

ideas a mycelium
of subterranean largesse
indeed several thousand acres of ideas
they call armillaria
shamanic fungus in the Blue Mountains

mooncalf is it you? come back
show humans how not to ruin and use
helps us own our dead zones and heal sea levels
wearing your suit of weather patterns
please bring back the dying species

the ventriloquist's dummy's firsthand understanding of the uncanny valley

get It sTRAIght, okay, kids?
plot it oN an axis if YOU wish.
here are the rules
and how you play a game
named uncanny valley
TOymakers Forbid:
the morE humAn I look,
the moRe you are afraid,
the MorE YOU look pale and dead.
i'm the mannequin With whom you fall in love
that fILLs you to the brim witH drEAd.
let's face it: only a dummy
might find youR act funny..
but i'll keep LAUGHING
long after you've stopped,
THEn starE baCk like I want to sHake hands.
what scares yOu so much? that I might come ALIVE,
sURpass the Master at long last--
Yes, a SPECIMEN wriggling off its pin,
slipping from your grasp?
or maybe yoU're mAchineRy, purE mechAnism,
duplicated all too easily by LIFELIKE STIFFs?
what If, with a SMILE, i reach out
with a glove to experiment,
AND forever SEVER our cord?
if I, pUnch-and-judy StyLe,
shOVE you ofF A MILE-high cliff?


Spiders like to drink from your eye when you sleep.

Their many eyes see your eyelashes glisten in the distance.

They part those curled rushes, harvest reservoirs of tears.

The dewdrop on the spider's lip is the tip

Of a tantalizing wisdom and philosophy.

The sound of a spider drinking
is like incredibly delicate music.
If they drink quietly enough,
they may even taste your dreams,
rest on the serene dune of your closed eyelid.

Matt Schumacher’s fifth collection of poetry, Ghost Town Odes, was published in October. He serves the literary world as managing editor of the journal Phantom Drift, and live in Portland, Oregon.