I remember once you sat when all others stood up
and headed toward the exit. The others followed
the illuminated floor lights, a woman in uniform
held a trash bag in her hands and said, “Thank you,”
and not one replied, “I should be thanking you.”
It was the month God told you to appreciate,
so every time we watched a movie,
you told me I could leave if I wanted,
but you wanted to see all the credits in silence.
When the cleaning crew shuffled into the theater,
surprised to find people still seated, you politely
asked me what I thought of the movie while staying
with the credits like you were waiting for a sign.
~ Matthew David Manning
Matthew David Manning is an English instructor at Pittsburg State University (PSU) in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and PSU. His poetry has appeared various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review.
Guest Editor Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas.