Is a spoon still a spoon,
——————————bent by two hands to look more
——————————————————————–—like a moon?
Some nights, I take a walk down to the cul-de-sac, lay myself
on the gravel,
————–—play a different kind of dead. It sounds like a fiddle.
The boy calls me sylvan,
——————————eagle-boned & I know what he means. He means the way
eyes look in a coffin: purposeless, lazy. Veins
————————————–—bracketed by formaldehyde.
We buried our grandfather with a baseball in his hand.
————-—They had to break his fingers to present him as we remembered,
despite the missing tooth that was there when he talked. Maybe there is a sewer
—————–—somewhere that holds it dearly. Some other locked jaw.
————————————–—We don’t take what we call dead
even close to seriously enough.
———————–—Dead end. Dead beat. Dead serious.
——————————–—The boy curves the spoon, feeds
——————————–—the needle into his arm, heavy
——————————–—with an ingredient he refuses to let me in on.
He toys with the sharpest accessory of himself.
——————————The boy once said my face looked like someone else’s self-portrait,
——————————my eyebrows attenuated like a wheat field,
——————————–—my mouth: a bedroom, my tongue: a curved
wall crushing a chair into one of its corners. He tapped my ear with the spoon.
———This needs to go,
he said & slipped into what I hoped was just sleep & knew
Matthew Tuckner is currently an MFA candidate at NYU, where he is poetry editor of Washington Square Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Missouri Review, Bat City Review, New Ohio Review, Bennington Review, Poetry Northwest, and Massachusetts Review, among others.