A Fling of Dunlins

A man in the bar, with what looks like a dunlin
but is meant to be the head of an eagle stencilled

onto his jersey, says he wants fisticuffs with me.
I want fisticuffs, he says. I want you

bleeding out on the floor, he says.
A student in my symposium on Plato’s Republic says

she has to sit close to the door, or else, and I do
not know what else is out there, other than a business

of flies making a commotion out of rotting apple core.
Socrates would’ve rather have been a gadfly

than any other animal, which is unfortunate.
Following the jurisdiction of the collective noun,

a gadfly is all business and no play, unlike a gulp of cormorants
or a deceit of lapwings. I do not want fisticuffs with the deceit

of men skulking up and down the bar because, put on trial
for my life, I have done very little wrong, other than bump

bodies with another, an instance of the space-
time continuum where physics and equilibrium

are to blame, just like the football game on the television
where a convocation of eagles butt skulls with a pod of dolphins.

A dolphin falls to the ground, flops slightly, and is then removed
from the field. I prefer the collective noun deceit when used

to describe men. What in the world have the lapwings done
to be called liars? Our inner vision is blurred by a cloud

of gnats. The council in the bar want me to acknowledge
the Gods that the city acknowledges. I am a new, unrecognized

congregant, with my ankle-high boots, my shorts cropped just
above my knee. They would turn me into a hyacinth if they could.

Fight me, Faggot, the man says. Let’s have fisticuffs, he says.
As if I were a faggot of sticks. Rub two pieces of wood together

and all of those tender molecules falter, like when a swirling ball
falls from the air. An eagle runs on two feet past a white line painted

across the grass. Another dolphin trips and cracks a dorsal fin. Everyone
in the bar pushes their vocal cords to be louder than the next

colony of vocal cords. They bring their pairs of hands together over
and over again, and noise pours out. Everything we know

about Socrates is reported. The student in my symposium
keeps looking at the door, outside of which is the world.

The projector blasts my professor’s shadow against the wall.
The man who has called me faggot has the name of another man

sprawled across his shoulders.

Matthew Tuckner recently received his BA from Bennington College, where he worked as a Production and Editorial Assistant for Bennington Review. He also recently received the 2019 Green Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets, selected by Rick Barot. He has received support for his fiction and poetry from the Roxbury Writers Residency, where he was an inaugural resident, the NYS Writers Institute, and the Summer Seminar for Writers at Sarah Lawrence College. He currently resides in Westchester, NY.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

re: wearing my glasses after a life of blurred vision

after Eika L. Sanchez

in the year of the pig
I was lethargic, barely peeking
and unnoticeable. I made my mother
scream before she understood me, I reached out
a pinkie from the womb but was too lazy to grow
a fingernail so she never felt the itch
that I was coming. I never knew pain. I only
soaked deeper inside her. if I called you
a fragile being, would that be such a bad thing?
like the glass sphere of a snow globe that’s been shaken
too much and always in a flurry. am I angry
or just dehydrated. I stare at my ceiling until my eyes
dry out while “Landslide” absorbs my brain. I thinkIthink
the year of the snake would have been more suitable
for me, a gemini, as my vision races through the memories
of every beginningand end andbeginningand endand
beginningandend of where I thought
my father’s last straw might be. if I squint hard
enough, the corner of my ceiling reminds me I was once
born a street dog, tiny enough to be picked at first glance,
but the other night I lay sostill I could see my mother
humming happily like she never knew me and my finger
bones grew into my skin as the ceiling grew a big toothy
smile and laughed and laughedandlaughedandlaughed
at me. I could never be a goat. I do not eat enough
vegetables, I am not big enough, strong enough, I am
too awake at night collecting the fallen strands of my hair
scattered around the bed. they grow as fast as I shed. I scare
myself. Iscaremyself. I am the rat. I became what I was born
to be, what I feared. if I told you I loved you, would you unmask
the mesh of dyed thread that absorbs me?

Catalina Adragna is twenty-three years old and pursuing an MFA in poetry at Rutgers University, with an undergrad at Bennington College where she studied Poetry and Drama. She has previous publications in Silo Magazine. She is a Gemini and a pocha. Her Twitter: @catadragna.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Thumbelina

after Sara Borjas

today I am the jagged bottle caps on my floor
and the unused yoga mat. I want to be swept
up in a wave of forgiveness only a mother
of a young child could muster. I understand
less things now than I did yesterday.
I act betrayed. I endure. when I’m not
reaching for you, I reach for paper
weights, sandbags, bricks without
the holes in them. I once found
a kitten in a brick on the side
of the road and fed her my milk
but when she walked, she scratched
my pillows and mirror and face
and ran out the fire escape. I hear her
wailing at night. my brother screams
his replies. I blast my music to match
their echoes.

I want someone to love
whose laugh matches my
moans. whose hair won’t
fall out like mine so one
of us might last. who can
hold me like I’m Thumbelina,
so we can wash away
together on a lily pad
while I sing them to sleep
and make love
on a bumblebee
until we forget
we could drown
in one teardrop or
run our whole lives,
never escaping the breeze.

Catalina Adragna is twenty-three years old and pursuing an MFA in poetry at Rutgers University, with an undergrad at Bennington College where she studied Poetry and Drama. She has previous publications in Silo Magazine. She is a Gemini and a pocha. Her Twitter: @catadragna.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

my hips are wider than the length of my body

the night I threw up in an Uber, the radio blasted mariachi music
over the expressway. I saw a sign for E Sex
Hotel and remembered banging
my head against yours so hard my nose bled

all over our naked bodies. the lit buildings blurred,
zooming so fast they were on fire. who pays
for all the fucking
billboards cramming

the dividers after hours? my driver told me I’m nasty.
I told him I stain ivory walls with cum
once a month to blend in. I never swallow,
only letting the Mad Dog 20/20 bulge

until I have chipmunk cheeks. my hindsight is slimy
as I leave last night’s tampon in to soak
tonight’s two dollar margaritas. why
are my nails never clean? I called the number

on the bathroom stall and they
hung up on me. I still remember your cell,
reproducing inside me like the song
“867-5309”. the sign darting past screams There is Evidence

of God. does that poster baby
have a name? I imagine my sewn mouth
astral projected along the highway. I rolled the windows
down, but the technology didn’t recognize me.

Catalina Adragna is twenty-three years old and pursuing an MFA in poetry at Rutgers University, with an undergrad at Bennington College where she studied Poetry and Drama. She has previous publications in Silo Magazine. She is a Gemini and a pocha. Her Twitter: @catadragna.

Posted in Poetry | 1 Comment

Dream Scheme*

when I sleep I dream my father is dead.
I only know his last name. I only see him
with unbrushed hair and he has a suit
too big filled with De La Rosas he can’t
pronounce. there is glitter no one cleans. his face
is erased. I am nine. my dress is black
and sparkly at the bottom and my
favorite. I love to wear it. I twirl real fast
around him and he never speaks. I pretend
I am death and drink chocolate milk
like coffee and ask him questions
like do you think dogs understand
me and will my baby teeth choke
me and I start to get dizzy. I am nine
feet taller than I should be. my mother
never comes to get me. no one is here
but me so I run through the aisle jumping
on folding chairs and eating all the jelly
beans. there are no more parents. I have
the church all to myself. I use my Fuzzy
Wuzzy Brown crayon from my big
one hundred and twenty crayon pack
to draw on his face. I draw eyebrows and eyes
just like mine and a nose that’s bigger,
I think, and for the mouth I use Mauvelous
because that’s how I’m feeling. my mother
always said I make her Screaming Green.
I’m bad at drawing ears so I cut them off.
there is no adult to stop the bleeding.

*Title taken from the episode “Dream Scheme” from Season 2, episode 17A of The Powerpuff Girls.

Catalina Adragna is twenty-three years old and pursuing an MFA in poetry at Rutgers University, with an undergrad at Bennington College where she studied Poetry and Drama. She has previous publications in Silo Magazine. She is a Gemini and a pocha. Her Twitter: @catadragna.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

he only looks at Helen now

the boy who prays,
the boy missing a shoe, the boy in a gold cloak,
and the one I’ve already kissed:
Helen, who stares at me. the Trojan War
excites the Gods, they’re just like us,
what a sad existence
equating apples to
beauty and bizarre love
triangles,
though one more drunk stare
from Golden Boy makes me think
he needs an apple more
than anything. I’m rubbing
shoulders with a blonde whose catchphrase
relies on reminding everyone she should sleep
on top of them; no one returns
her eye contact. it must have been shitty
to be married to Zeus. in the distance,
a swan winks at me
and I remember
watching movies with my high
school crush
about Greek Mythology but he always stared
at my head while I memorized
the stories. I asked
how he broke his foot and he asked
me to show him a boob. just another
Achilles.
Helen asks me
where my people are really from
and I lift up my dark, mismatched
split ends, wondering
whose prophecy am I fulfilling?
when the party’s over,
we use a bed as a raft
to hide
from the burning floor and I
don’t think the Gods
will let me leave.

Catalina Adragna is twenty-three years old and pursuing an MFA in poetry at Rutgers University, with an undergrad at Bennington College where she studied Poetry and Drama. She has previous publications in Silo Magazine. She is a Gemini and a pocha. Her Twitter: @catadragna.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Xolo*

I hung up on you the day I dyed my hair,
an undiscovered land a new hand could run
its fingers through: black ink smudging
my neck, a love bruise. I lie so much,

my bed head makes you think
I’m getting laid. I’m such a lucky girl.
when I cry in the shower, my hair
falls out faster. I make murals

in the tub with the fallen strands. I have
trouble, you told me, holding on
to a moment. each time I pet a dog,
I see that mangy bitch smiling

under you. how unlucky she must be.
in a past life I was a hairless dog,
sacrificed after guarding my home
from intruders like you.

*A Xoloitzcuintli (or Xolo) is a hairless dog, also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog in English-speaking countries. Evidence has been found in the tombs of the Colima, Mayan, Toltec, Zapotec, and Aztec indigenous people that they would bury their Xolos with the owners to protect them into the underworld from intruders or evil spirits, as they did in living. Xolos were typically sacrificed for this burial.

Catalina Adragna is twenty-three years old and pursuing an MFA in poetry at Rutgers University, with an undergrad at Bennington College where she studied Poetry and Drama. She has previous publications in Silo Magazine. She is a Gemini and a pocha. Her Twitter: @catadragna.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | 2 Comments