Acoustic Shadow / Michelle Matz

Original price was: $14.00.Current price is: $9.00.

Acoustic Shadow

poems by

Michelle Matz

~60 pages, $14 (+ shipping)

Projected Release Date: October/November, 2024

An Advance Sale Discount price of $9 (+ shipping) is available HERE prior to press time. This price is not available anywhere else or by check. The check price is $13/book (which includes shipping & sales tax) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, 4416 Shea Lane, Mint Hill, NC 28227. 

PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.

Michelle Matz earned a BA in psychology from Wesleyan University, an MA in education from Stanford University, and an MFA in creative writing from Mills College. Her poems have been published in numerous journals, including Mud Season Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, So To Speak, and Verse Daily. Michelle won the Mary Merritt Henry Poetry Prize and was a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant through the SF Arts Commission. Her chapbook, Atilt, was a finalist in the Ledge Poetry Contest. Michelle lives in SF, where she raised her daughter, now a 19-year-old college student. Michelle is a high school dean.

Michelle Matz’s exquisite debut is attuned to the cadence of everyday life, melodies that herald joy and those that haunt us in the shadows. These poems sing a familiar world, and their curiosity and wonder help us discover the lyric everywhere, not just in a garden reverie, but in a Verizon store, Home Depot, the hospital beside a dying loved one, a city bus. The lingering notes leave me comforted and cracked open, exceedingly grateful. ~Amanda Moore


Michelle Matz’s Acoustic Shadow treads the solitary space between love and grief with remarkable presence. A narrative poet who has mastered the art of restraint, Matz knows how to leap and turn so that clear threads of story become lyrical. Abiding in multiple griefs and much humanity, these poems hold and witness and never look away. Understated, tender, deeply authentic, Acoustic Shadow walks straight through loss and finds its way back home again and again. ~Jennifer K. Sweeney


There is a marginal risk of severe and potentially
life-threatening storms between noon and 3:00 pm 

~National Weather Service


I have never understood how to rearrange
my life appropriately in life-threatening

uncertainty. Do I stay put? Is it ok to stop
at Walgreens and buy toothpaste even though

if I squeeze the tube and fold it like an accordion
I probably have enough until next Tuesday?

Yesterday, I sat on the back deck and watched
a tiny, ruby-throated hummingbird build a nest

beneath the oak’s canopy. Aren’t birds supposed to
sense impending storms through low frequency sound

waves and skip town? The problem is I learned to swim
inland, the small lake deep enough to hold my breath

underwater and count to three but too shallow to lose
the bottom, and now I don’t understand the scale

of things properly. The storm will turn violent,
wash away roads, tear roofs off houses, drown the living,

and I will spend hours watching out my back window,
grieving the wrong thing.





Washing dishes
she dropped a glass
watched it shatter
on the tile floor
it was an accident
after all it’s tricky
not to mention time-
consuming to sweep
the shards
the broom
inadequate beneath
the stove
tiny specks of glass
and we knew
the way we knew things
back then
she wouldn’t
get them all



The Verizon Store


After my dad died, my mom went to Verizon to transfer their cell phone
contract to her name. Your husband will need to verify this change, the

woman behind the counter told her. But he’s dead, my mom replied, which seemed to stymie the woman, who had a form and needed a

signature. So he won’t be able to sign the form, my mom continued, unnecessarily. We need confirmation, the manager, summoned from the

back office, explained. I was at work when she called. I’m going home to get Dad, she told me. My dad is in a small box on the top shelf

of the hall closet next to the hat bin. It’s been 3 months since he died. The sorrow is less precise, the air less stilled. The manager was at lunch

when my mom returned with my dad in a tote bag. I’ll wait, she explained to the original woman with the form, pulling a chair by the

window up to the desk and positioning my dad squarely on her lap. When the manager returned from lunch, my mom was still holding my

dad, quietly telling him that the geraniums he’d planted in the backyard were still in bloom and she was remembering to let the soil dry before

watering and he was right—the apricot colored ones were the most beautiful. The manager placed her hand on my mom’s shoulder,

told her this was proof enough.



In this version

for JEM


you turn 47
next Wednesday.
They fixed you.

On your 48th,
you’ll tell the story
about the time

you asked the doctor
with the pebbly voice
to just scoop it all out

as if the teenager with
the after-school job at the
ice cream shop could save

you. Your friends are giddy.
For a minute there
things had looked grim;

a stage IV diagnosis,
the odds of survival
about 1 percent.

But now! So much
to celebrate.
And this restaurant!

What a coup getting
a reservation. Sure,
you were hoping

for something closer
to 6:00, but 8:00 is ok.
We pour the champagne,

raise our glasses
in the last
of the day’s light.

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