Matthew Burnside

2012/10/27 § Leave a comment

On the theme of Gauntlet

A Primer for Imaginary Theft 

For starters, smuggle sunset in through the fingernails; keep in a straightjacket in your throat.
Speak soft as liturgy with glint-spindled tongue. Elbows are for ghosts, who crave corners, so prey
cautious sparing the angles shaved off in your sleep. Discordant melody may ascend the hip without
a winged invitation. Swallowing harmonies through the bellybutton is best. Concoct heirlooms for
safe circumnavigation of shame, taking lantern breaths for each darkly hiss of dust-bile. Form
invisible bridges on your molars to pass a stolen sky through the system. Clouds are made malleable
in the language of rain & makeshift rafts. Remember that laughter dissolves chalk-like in an
eardrum, ferreting through the impossibly pink ductwork of memory, which is a giant mollusk. Faith
catches fairly fast in the toes but not without the inherent risk of infecting footfalls, stammering a
well-timed step with God’s grisly sunspots. Rig eyelids with heavy nets to intercept affection’s glass
architecture. Beauty builds its nest on the nipples, for doves to teethe & dig out & bury their
rage. Apocalypse rests along the ribcage in tiny teepees, anarchy somewhere in the spine. The lot of
wrath rots in the nape of the necks of dead lovers everywhere. For enders, to embezzle forever requires the cleanest choreography; to swindle infinity, one sharp-enough knife

Author Biography

Matthew Burnside is managing editor of Mixed Fruit, an online literary magazine (, and an MFA fiction candidate at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in > kill author, Gargoyle, PANK, Juked, elimae, Contrary, Pear Noir!, decomP, NAP, and Danse Macabre, among others.


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