Three First Grade Boys on the Titanic


Three boys squat

in the Book Corner

looking down

at the open heart of history.


One boy exclaims:

I wish I was on the Titanic.


Another replies with logic:

You can’t be on it.


A third who knows about attention

and the need to make an impact

to be noticed, to exist, states:

I was on the Titanic. I was. I was.


The two other boys don’t respond,

just keeping looking down at the picture

of the ship being sundered, closing

around the book like a prayer,


while the third, silently ousted,

wonders if his lie was in fact a kind of truth.



A Steiner Piano Shop


There’s a Steiner Piano Shop in Lake Oswego now.

The millionaires who wow the lake in record numbers,


in palaces policed by cameras, scraped and landscaped

by immigrant workers, stocked with pouty power boats


and gleaming Teslas can now insist their children clatter

through Mozart whilst they plan weekend wake-surfing


on the lake, too dirty to swim in, and family trips

to the Caribbean, second homes, thanking God


there’s no homeless camps and fentanyl addiction

in their downtown. Close the gate, security cameras on,


kids all tucked up with the latest fairy tale mirrors

while the dog roams its empty, echoing territory.


Matthew James Friday

Matthew James Friday is a British-born writer and teacher. He has published many poems in the US and international journals. His first chapbook, The Residents, will be published by Finishing Line Press in the summer of 2024. He has published numerous micro-chapbooks with the Origami Poems Project. Matthew is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. Visit his website at

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