The meadow craves the sweet scent of skin where the morning smolders, edging back as smoke carves the sun in two like an arrow.
I laid in wait for you. There was no need for weaponry. Only the hush of snow protected you. But your vivid coat, the arch of your back speckled
with white, the gleam of your eye’s refracted light caressed my vision as a pang of hunger stabbed my stomach. She, too, laid in wait:
Hard beads of sweat lined her forehead, drenched her blankets. She asked me only for this, only to find you, whether on a meadow
grazing on the remnants of seeds scattered by unsoiled hands or on a street frozen in awe & drunk on sweet heady light.
We scanned over every unctuous bubbling roiling your pots carefully. Eagerly she devours - coarse fat, timid meat, gleaming gristle.
Somewhere in the ocean, the water parts; a hole spreads. And the tip of a missile pushes its way into the sky.
Somewhere in the gut of the world, a bubble pops; a shockwave rattles core and crust. And we tremble. We rock.
Somewhere behind the ribs, a bubble spreads; the blood pops. And the face of the father falls off.
Somewhere in the past a boy turns off the TV; the door slams. His breath reeks. And he punts a body against the walls.
Somewhere in the needle lies clots dislodged by froth & bubbles. Pain escapes. And a body lies punted against the walls.
Somewhere in a rehab a man takes off his father’s face; eyes unravel. A silence settles. And a wall lies still against punted bodies.
The Other Tongue
This story starts with our girlhood in summer. Mason jars and forests. Bicycles and shotguns slung over cartoon shoulders. Chewed straw, sticky lips and sweat. Gibbous moon hung; candle wax dried over scales dyed in rainwater. I watched her out the corner stalk pitted streets before she jumped the chainlink fence, skirt flapping like moth wings. She found me carving faces into wood, a weary fedora framing wrinkled skin and gouged- out eyeglasses, a pair of mouths searching for eyes, a fish, a match- box brimming with hooks. My sense of humor was a bullet. My apology was the same length as my calico skirt. I could have held her soft head with wool socks while the fever flushed through her throat. I should have shared her name, fused it to my thighs, but where was the fun in that? Better to foul our food. Better to churn the butter of my body into a creamy violet paste. Better to make me crave loose vinegar, she said. I watched an ocean of oil eat sparks underneath the light of stars long dead and engulf the silence the way candles swallow darkness, islands of white flame growing like newborn suns, my hands & throat turning to smoke. A sweet iguana’s tongue snuck between the pebbles that lined our punch-drunk makeshift road where it bled into the beachhead. The soft glow of fireflies crept into the night sky like dust dancing in the last quiet light of a closing crypt. I found her body anchored by the tide. Reminiscences glittered: small scraps of moon cleaving away the fog as jagged metal corkscrewed through her tongue.
-- Matthew DeMarco lives in Chicago. His work has appeared on Poets.org and in Ghost City Review, Landfill, Sporklet, and elsewhere. Additional work is forthcoming from Glass and The Swamp. Poems that he wrote with Faizan Syed have appeared in Dogbird and They Said:A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing from Black Lawrence Press. He tweets sporadically from @M_DeMarco_Words. Faizan Syed, MD is a poet and psychiatrist based in Queens. He was awarded the Folger Adams Jr. Prize and the Graduating Poet’s Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Faizan's work has appeared in Montage Literary Arts Journal, MACE, Newtown Literary, & Empty Mirror, and is forthcoming in Cosmonauts Ave. One can find him on Instagram @drfaizansdreamery.