Poem By Matt Mullins

It's only when he's not thinking about you
that you come to him in his dreams. In one
you are smiling while pressing thumbtacks
into his erection and telling him everything
is going to be alright. In another, he's following
the drifting edge of your white gossamer gown
through a misty forest. In each, the tendrils
of your dyed red hair rope him in, cause him
to awaken with a shiver, deep and involuntary
as the shiver that catches up to him near the end
of a piss he's steaming through the chill dumpster air
of a bar's parking lot. There he stands
a drunk blank, nobody and anyone, reeling
and certainly not thinking of you. Even though
you moved away years ago, he still swears
he occasionally glimpses you driving
in the opposite direction, your sudden, random
passing undoing the instant in a shuddering
of memory and he'll shiver as if you had walked
bodily through his mind right then, naked
above your pale, delicate feet. These are the nights
he turns shivering upon his side and peeks
into the black hole of his sleeping lover's open
mouth, past her bared teeth and into the question
of how life must be with you, standing right now
in a dark hallway in another man's shirt
paused by a window, bathing in the watery
light thrown down by the distant, battered
infatuated moon.

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Other poems of MULLINS

Father And Son In The Second Person

One day he will come into the bathroom
to watch you use the blade. And at five
or six or however old he still won't have
the right words, but what he'll be looking for


This flesh is
as we conceive

each sparkling pin

Chinatown Valentine

Chinatown: a neon mantis.
Hailstones tapping a
Mandarin braille of love.

Death Loves Soup

How is it that death loves soup
best here in my kitchen, drinking alone
with a pot bubbling on the stove?

Four Accidentals

First, you die. Then I choose the place and time
to brush away the dry leaves, rolling aside
the note-heads of pill-bugs and curled centipede clefs
testing the edge of your guitar with the calloused


I have none to speak of
nor does my father
but my mother's body
is a roadmap of sharp turns