Back to Issue Twenty-One.




A brightness in the kitchen;
a willow holding sunset
in the hoop of its dress—

while my mother set the table,
I heard my father’s car
surrender in the driveway.

I wanted to shine. To make
my body burn. To unlock
every glass case where I used

to store all my silences
and watch them pirouette
on the cedar floor.

It took so long for me
to understand why
she turned away—

shame for having bought me
the gown, for wishing
I’d been a daughter.

I wore pink tulle. I wore
myself. I spun until
I could no longer see

my father, standing
in the doorway,
his head in his hands.



glass house



Now, the shadow-selves
are razoring off

the heads of dandelions.
They know I have been hiding

behind red clovers
and a rusted door.

In vulpecular prairie wind,
I’ve been. The almost-boy

in the feral box.
The skin in the dress

and my rattling
kith of cornflowers

bruising the hardwood floor.
It is a crime

to be surrounded
only with yourself,

said Mother.
My hair always

refused to lie down
even as she combed it flat.

Soon, the bowl of me will empty.

Something winged
will stand at this door.

He’ll breathe in. He’ll use
every one of his teeth.


Matthew Gellman‘s poems are featured or forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Prelude, the Journal, B O D Y, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in New York, where he co-edits Lambda Literary’s Poetry Spotlight and is an MFA candidate at Columbia University.

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