Issue > Poetry
Matthew Ulland

Matthew Ulland

Matthew Ulland’s poems, stories, and essays have been published in Prairie Schooner, Barrow Street, LIT, Illuminations, Sequestrum, MiPOesias, Hanging Loose, and many others. He is the author of the novel The Broken World and the poetry chapbook The Sound in the Corn. His manuscript has been a finalist for the Georgetown Review Poetry Prize and Backwaters Press Poetry Prize. He received his MFA from New England College and now lives and works in the Hudson Valley, New York.

Tattoo


All night I leaped and spun
in the converted trolley factory

as if I were twenty again,
my body electric.

It was the ecstasy, of course,
but not only.

Everyone was beautiful,
twirling from ribbons in the air.

Pink hearts blinked in silver pockets.
My new friend urged me

to let the body artist have her way.
For a night, I was daring

and empathetic. Calligraphic lines
scrolled across my skin

like the script of a new language,
as if I could be

someone else.
All I had to do was to want it.

On Palmer Lake

In the shimmer, the heat,
we rowed into the lake,
languid—
                we had days.
Green days. Green water.

Pre-Cambrian ferns. We cut
peat moss from the island—
thick and soft fatty flesh,
root nerves webbing wet
earth.
          There is so much life—
it rises through death.
                                   Beneath
the surface, an ancient carp  
led the way—tail fin slapped,
sent ripples trailing through
choked weeds and water lilies,
off to where the heron winged
a broad blue arc—spindly
ascent—
               once, then silent.

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