If I were yours to keep,

you’d have me in a 

gilded case, with a large

brass key dangling gingerly 

from your belt loop. 

But I am miles 

out of touch with you, 

in the land of bones and ashes, 

and the lid of your case is 

chastened with dust;

scarred by passing time

and by disuse. 

Am I free?

Does your mind 

still roam to me?

My heart pleads to you, “Find me!

I lie amid the ruins 

of an epoch 

that may yet exist. 

Return!”

By what light shall I search

but by the glint of sunbeam

off a small, brass key. 

Do you still carry 

such a candle?

Oh, let it be so!

Matthew Ratz is an author and performer living in Gaithersburg, MD. His poetry has appeared online in Bourgeon as well as on Huffington Post; his essays have appeared in Autism Spectrum News and The Atlantic. Matthew also performs regularly at La-Ti-Do, a musical theater and spoken word cabaret in DC. He is the author of several nonfiction books and most recently a chapbook, Lightning Bugs in Fragile Jars (2017). Professionally, Matthew is a mental health advocate and peer-support specialist with nonprofit organizations in the DC Metro area.


Image by Enfo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35367942


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