View Archives by:


Seeing You Anaesthetized after Surgery

Mathias Svalina

When you were calamity you mouthed
the word calamity until the choke of daylight.
And then we giggled in Latin: colitis, dysentery,
necrotic enteritis, &c.

When you held the gardenia bulb
in your mouth for thirty seconds
the radio played Shostakovich & you gagged & you
drooled on your yellow t-shirt.

When the couch caught fire & choked the house
with smoke, calamity, yet colitis. That night's
another wheat-free dinner wheedled off the stove &
licked off the spoon.

And when you pushed the toy gun
into your mouth I kicked your poodle &
fractured its snout. By the end of the night we’d done
a dozen blue shooters.

When I tucked a lock of hair behind your ear
you held the lit match to my clenched cheek:
the scar still smiles. I held your hair back as you
vomited bile.

When your cheekbones struggled to split your skin
& the trembling toothpicks of your yellowed fingers
dropped the glass mug to the waxed floor, the shards
were hard candies.

Maybe it’s just me, but each year I feel
slower & dryer. The lemon pudding skin stretches like

Mathias Svalina

Read Bio

Author Discusses Poems