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Photo by Eugene Chystiakov

Ricochet Skulls

I could fill a whole book with the passive aggressive
snarls that went into the pen, the paper, the keyboard
on the screen, where I spit, spilled wine, where I clutched
dignity and ripped it apart.
childish displays firework//ed out of me, turned monstrous—
I tried to wet, cleanse, and pull them
wispy, smokey, tendrilled calm.
I wanted the village of my love cursed
grimaced, eaten whole by vultures
werewolves, mutant men. I wanted
no remains in the fields or in the homes
but there is always a whimpering stubborn
survivor, that finds a weapon to castigate them all.
Purer the dungeon, purer the sickened farm
every nightmare romance I built in my mind
when they said one thing and did another
stuck around in the gas-lit home, was punished
was punisher, was evil last boss to vanquish
was the one doing the vanquishing, was every
damp step-stone, the croak, the jitter
the laughter, the permanent broken pause.

Mateo Perez Lara is a queer, non-binary, Latinx poet from California. They received their M.F.A. in Poetry as part of the first cohort to graduate from Randolph College’s Creative Writing Program. They are an editor for RabidOak Online Literary Journal. They have a chapbook, Glitter Gods, published with Thirty West Publishing House. Their poems have been published in EOAGH, The Maine Review, and elsewhere.


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