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About this poet

Matthew Thorburn was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. He received a BA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from The New School.

Thorburn is the author of Dear Almost (Louisiana State University Press, 2016), This Time Tomorrow (Waywiser, 2013), Every Possible Blue (WordTech Communications, 2012), and Subject To Change (New Issues, 2004).

The poet Al Maginnes writes, “Thorburn finds room for food and prayer, for work and love, for keen observation of the twin worlds we inhabit, the one inside us and the one where our daily lives take place.”

Thorburn is a recipient of the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. He works in corporate communications and lives in New York City.

Dear Almost (Louisiana State University Press, 2016)
This Time Tomorrow (Waywiser, 2013)
Every Possible Blue (WordTech Communications, 2012)
Subject To Change (New Issues, 2004)


How We Found Our Way

The lead dog was called Gandy.
If he didn't go, nobody
did. Jannick the musher
was Danish. I almost didn't catch
his name. It was so windy
and the wind was so loud.
"Yah! Gandy, yah!" he sang out.
Also whistled and clicked
his tongue. He stood on skis and slid
along beside the sled. If the sled
went too fast he sat down
on the front. So he was the brake.
His face was bright pink.
He laughed a lot and explained

everything. We weren't on the glacier
but on the runoff of gravelly snow
and ice and dirt that skirts
the glacier. "The name for this—
I forget it in English." We bumped
along. Tilted and jolted.
Lily sat up front, my arm around
her waist, her hair flickering
in my eyes. We almost tipped over
more than once. Then stopped
to let it in: the snapping wind,
that buffeting hum. And everything
cloud-colored: a gray sky

falling into gray snow.
He took our picture with the dogs
and they were gray too: a patchwork
of gray and dark gray,
sandy browns and black, silvery
white; their long, coarse fur
greasy like duck feathers. "Waterproof,"
Jannick assured us, gloves off.
"Feel how warm the skin is
under all this." They pulled against
their harnesses, anxious

to get going again. Nosed us
as he called out their names:
"Gandy, Darwin and Apollo,
Little Franka, Pedro, Bacon, Gnist."
These dogs once hunted polar bears
and seals. "Well, not these
particular dogs, but the breed."
Now Darwin rolled over
on the crusty snow. Franka's
broad head was blunt and black
as an anvil. Lily cradled it
in her arms. "You can't stay

out long," Jannick said. "Weather's
too chancy. Changes fast." So—
we swung the sled around, retraced
the slushy ruts of sled tracks
and ski tracks. The other dogs
left behind at the camp cried
and barked as we drew near.
They could smell us before we could
see them. Back inside, he lit up
his pipe. We hung our borrowed
snowsuits up to dry.
Sat in the now-loud silence
till the kettle—

                   Jannick's cell phone
trilled. The next riders
would be there soon. We sipped
instant coffee while he waited
for our Visa to go through.

From This Time Tomorrow by Matthew Thorburn. Copyright ©2013 by Matthew Thorburn. Reprinted by permission of The Waywiser Press. All rights reserved.

From This Time Tomorrow by Matthew Thorburn. Copyright ©2013 by Matthew Thorburn. Reprinted by permission of The Waywiser Press. All rights reserved.

Matthew Thorburn

Matthew Thorburn

Matthew Thorburn is the author of Dear Almost (Louisiana State University Press, 2016). He lives in New York City.

by this poet


The amazing thing is not
that geese can get sucked
into an Airbus engine
and cause it to conk out
or that a pilot can tell air


Dusk in August—
which means nearly
nine o’clock here, deep
in the heart of central
Jersey—and the deer
step out to graze
the backyards. They tear
each yellowy red
tulip cup, munch up
and azaleas. Fifty
years of new houses
have eaten into