poem index


Lucian Mattison

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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.



by this poet


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



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


—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