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About this poet

Lucian Mattison received an MFA from Old Dominion University in 2015. He is the author of Reaper’s Milonga (YesYes Books, 2017) and Peregrine Nation (The Broadkill River Press, 2014). An associate editor for Big Lucks, he lives in Washington, D.C.

 

 

Pintura Negra

—After Francisco Goya's "Saturn Devouring His Son"

We follow the porcelain
column of a child's arm

into time's mouth, desperate
Titan, runnel of inked tear

spilling from his eye.
This feels like the beginning

of knowing death. It digs
nails into the small

of a child's back, white-
knuckled grip of a father

arthritic from holding
dead things. The whole scene

weeps a blurred body,
brings a child into the world

embalmed by the deaf. Death
and artist, two skulking

lumps, billow canvas curtain.
These are the ghosts

that move marrow, fingers
that slip the knife point

into a notch of soft bone,
and lift the broken end

to our lips to drink
this dark paint that fills us.

From Reaper’s Milonga (YesYes Books, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Lucian Mattison. Used with the permission of the author.

From Reaper’s Milonga (YesYes Books, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Lucian Mattison. Used with the permission of the author.

Lucian Mattison

Lucian Mattison is the author of Reaper’s Milonga (YesYes Books, 2017).

 

by this poet

poem

It follows the slug of bell tongue,
rattle against the apple
of an ox throat. Hoof after
hoof, breath chuffed,
is this how we are all yoked?
Death steps a tight circle
maintains the image of moving
forward, always pulling in
closer to the center
of this ancient structure

poem

Maybe you saw me in the Picasso Museum,
how I stood for an hour in front of Gored Horse
thinking about Plaza de Toros in Pamplona
 
praying to the toro lidiado, how banderillas
dripped a rosary of blood down its obsidian pelt.
Yes, the grandstand was full. No, women

did