Matthew Burnside

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CHRONOLOGY OF A BLACK HOLE

a trampoline heart fit for glass elephants • a body curled in black branches, bones tensed • a flight of
oblong clouds, procession of pearled wounds • a something mother once told her . . . “swans can’t
fly” • an impending moon, seen as if through the slits of a smoky ribcage • a spider made of milk
and fur, radiating trauma from a leaf • a night lurching on, bright with bloody gashlets of fog • a lake
burbling, anti-glistening, what dark textures fury below? • a ribbon ripped from her hair by the wind:
a pre-orphaning • a tender sternum flung toward the swarm • a red laughter strangling silence • a
ghostly valence: nameless, no signifier

his warped wolf logic: sing down her throat • his stammer-pulse, militarized by the
dark glint of her teeth • his mistrust of mirrors, the fear his face will erase itself • his
suspicion every orifice is a trumpet to another world • his insanitary appetite, slow
gorging of soft white glands • his dizzying dance to a rotting sonata • his idle hands,
tearing the wings off invisible moths • his shrine to the ribbon: there is a black joy
only beetles know • his roving thoughts, whether young Hitler had toys, whether his
dolls had their hair brushed back or torsos sawed in half by butter knives • his father,
more interested in caressing the ears of ghosts than his own children―a ceremony
of neglect

there are exactly thirty ways he held hostage
the sun in her mouth • there were thirty stars
drowning in her stomach that night • there is
a bedroom that still smells of peppermint
flowers • there is a jar on the mantel where
they keep the dead burning • there are mouths
that move only to conceal a tongue embezzled
of its words • there are wraths ignitable by the
shiver of a sinew • there in the blue house, the
cold ventriloquism of grief • there they rise
each morning to re-assassinate god • there in
the sheets, father measuring the wing span of
amputated angels • there through the window,
mother counting the twitch of tiny twigs •
there are no swans in flight tonight • there is
no leaving a crime scene

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CHRONOLOGY OF A BLACK HOLE

a trampoline heart fit for glass elephants
_____a body curled in black branches, bones tensed
___________a flight of oblong clouds, procession of pearled wounds
________________a something mother once told her . . . “swans can’t fly”
______________________an impending moon, seen as if through the slits of a smoky ribcage
____________________________a spider made of milk and fur, radiating trauma from a leaf
______________________a night lurching on, bright with bloody gashlets of fog
________________a lake burbling, anti-glistening, what dark textures fury below?
___________a ribbon ripped from her hair by the wind: a pre-orphaning
_____a tender sternum flung toward the swarm
a red laughter strangling silence
_____a ghostly valence: nameless, no signifier

___________his warped wolf logic: sing down her throat
________________his stammer-pulse, militarized by the dark glint of her teeth
______________________his mistrust of mirrors, the fear his face will erase itself
____________________________his suspicion every orifice is a trumpet to another world
______________________his insanitary appetite, slow gorging of soft white glands
________________his dizzying dance to a rotting sonata
___________his idle hands, tearing the wings off invisible moths
_____his shrine to the ribbon: there is a black joy only beetles know
his roving thoughts, whether young Hitler had toys, whether
_____his dolls had their hair brushed back or torsos sawed in half by butter knives
___________his father, more interested in caressing the ears of ghosts than
________________his own children―a ceremony of neglect

______________________there are exactly thirty ways he held hostage the sun in her mouth
____________________________there were thirty stars drowning in her stomach that night
______________________there is a bedroom that still smells of peppermint flowers
________________there is a jar on the mantel where they keep the dead burning
___________there are mouths that move only to conceal a tongue embezzled of its words
_____there are wraths ignitable by the shiver of a sinew
there in the blue house, the cold ventriloquism of grief
_____there they rise each morning to re-assassinate god
___________there in the sheets, father measuring the wing span of amputated angels
________________there through the window, mother counting the twitch of tiny twigs
______________________there are no swans in flight tonight
____________________________there is no leaving a crime scene

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CHRONOLOGY OF A BLACK HOLE

a trampoline heart fit for glass elephants×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××a body curled in black branches, bones tensed××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××a flight of
oblong clouds, procession of pearled wounds××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××a something mother once told her . . . “swans can’t fly”
an impending moon, seen as if through the slits of a smoky ribcage×××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××a spider made of milk and fur,
radiating trauma from a leaf××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××a night lurching on, bright with bloody gashlets of fog×××××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××a lake burbling,
anti-glistening, what dark textures fury below?×××××××××××××××××××××××××× ××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××a ribbon ripped from her hair by the wind: a pre-
orphaning××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××a tender sternum flung toward the swarm××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××a red laughter strangling silence××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××a ghostly valence:
nameless, no signifier××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××××his warped wolf logic: sing down her throat××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××his stammer-pulse, militarized by
the dark glint of her teeth×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××××××his mistrust of mirrors, the fear his face will erase itself×××××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××his suspicion every
orifice is a trumpet to another world×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××his insanitary appetite, slow gorging of soft white glands××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××his
dizzying dance to a rotting sonata×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××his idle hands, tearing the wings off invisible moths×××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××his shrine to the
ribbon: there is a black joy only beetles know××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××his roving thoughts, whether young Hitler had toys,
whether×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
×××××his dolls had their hair brushed back or torsos sawed in half by butter knives×××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××his father, more
interested in caressing the ears of ghosts than××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××his own children―a ceremony of neglect××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××there are
exactly thirty ways he held hostage the sun in her mouth×××××××××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××there were thirty stars drowning in her
stomach that night×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××there is a bedroom that still smells of peppermint flowers××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××there is a jar on the
mantel where they keep the dead burning××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××there are mouths that move only to conceal a tongue
embezzled of its words×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××there are wraths ignitable by the shiver of a sinew×××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××there in the blue house,
the cold ventriloquism of grief××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××there they rise each morning to re-assassinate god×××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××there in the
sheets, father measuring the wing span of amputated angels××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××there through the window, mother
counting the twitch of tiny twigs×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
××××××××××××××××××××there are no swans in flight tonight××××××××××××××××××
×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××there is no leaving a crime
scene×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××

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