I was what mattered in the end.
Truly, first lines don't get better than that.
I came across Sarah Arvio's "Matter" via the NYT, where you'll find this and other poems. Enjoy.
I was what mattered in the end. Or if
I didn’t matter then nothing mattered,
and if I mattered, well then all things did.
O miracles and molecules, dust, rust.
It was always a matter of matter.
It might be meat or else it might be love
(if I was meat, if I was fit to eat).
What had never been matter would never
matter: you might say this was a moot point.
Clay and dust, ash and mud and mist and rust,
blood-orange sunsets and turning maples,
apples and cherries, sticks and trash and dust,
rumpled papers blowing across a street
(dead letters sent to him that lives away).
There was life, there was loss, there was no such
thing as loss — there was nothing that wasn’t
both life and loss. No, it had to be said,
in questions of matter, nothing was lost.
It might be a matter of carnal love.
This was textual and material,
and for once the facts-of-the-matter were
both heartfelt and matter-of-fact. (Oh,
matter of course was always the mother.)
These were the facts of life, this was my life,
and there I was, right at the heart of it,
my own heart — at the heart-of-the-matter.
And did I matter now or in the end?
O mother, maintainer and measurer,
mud and fruit of the heart, meat of the heart,
the question might be asked, what was the end.