The Meaning of Life by Matthew Ratz






Doors locked, we hide the keys

Jeans frayed across the knees

On our backs beneath the stars

Basking in an autumn breeze


She spies Polaris, points out Mars

They’re lightning bugs in fragile jars

I hold my breath; yet quiet’s creased

Incessant drone of distant cars


The scene is calm, an almost peace

Emptiness of sky from west to east

Worlds within worlds forever unknown

Like how dough breathes with a pinch yeast


Aloof I say, “We could go back home.”

These memories drown me like stone

Certain they’d never let me in

A jester laughs at an abandoned throne


She stares at me with her ambivalent grin

Eyes chastise me for an unperformed sin

A fleeting notion for once I might win

She sighs, “That’s how we’ve always been.”


Matthew Ratz is a performer, speaker, and writer of poetry and nonfiction. He has performed in musical theater and dramatic productions—most notably playing Anthony Weiner in 2016’s premier of Weiner: the Musical. He is also a regular feature of both music and spoken words at the LaTiDo cabaret in Washington, DC and regularly appears in Montgomery Playhouse productions. Additionally, Matthew has led concurrent sessions at academic conferences locally and nationally on the topics of differentiation, autism, and Millennials. He teaches English composition at Montgomery College and at Howard Community College and previously worked in the fields of Special Education and Developmental Disabilities. His non-fiction writing has been featured in The Kappa Delta Pi Record, The Gaithersburg Town Courier, The Five Towns Jewish Star, Autism Spectrum News, Impact Training Publications, and The Huffington Post; his poetry has been published in the 2003 University of Maryland’s Stylus literary journal, in 2016 on The Huffington Post, and most recently in his chapbook Lightning Bugs in Fragile Jars released in 2017.

Image by Evonneyu – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Share this


Two Poems by Kimberly Ray

WHERE HAVE ALL THE PEOPLE GONE? Another December,Another end of the roadAs I look around and wonder,Where have all the people gone? Tucked in tighter to...

Three Poems by Juliana Schifferes

Close Encounter at a Grocery Store Grayed Vans, downcast eyes Bear lumbering after cookies How have you turned bald?! Your quiet stare ceased. How dare you remain yourself! Return to...

Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” Dives Headfirst into Who We Are and Where We Come From by Francesca Theofilou

This article is the winner of the 2022 DC Student Arts Journalism Competition. Click here to learn more about the competition. It is, indeed, the...

Recent articles

More like this


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here