Hartwill Paradise · Matt Dennison

I once possessed a tombstone stolen by another
from some soldier graveyard enscribed:

Hartwill Paradise
B. February 14, 1899
D. July 4, 1918, Le Hamel, Framce

on its short, weathered, angel-draped face.

It looked great on the floor beneath my bookshelf
and of course was fun to point out and discuss
after the drinks had filled the people and the room.

And I carried the sarccophagal momento from house
to shrinking house until I lost it somewhere
in the night and I wonder:

Whose will, whose paradise?

After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, Marie Craven and Jutta Pryor.