Matthew Zingg

I Named Her Sweet Marie

It was the night you laid down your cards
with the ease of the condemned

the night you made sure to empty
all the ashtrays before you left.

It was something you did well
avoiding clutter a clutch reaction.

I remember

I let the house do my talking.

I left the television on and stacked
beer cans on the coffee table.

I remember going to the front porch,
trying to pull the air in closer

and the entire block standing back a crowd
of idiot row houses the oil stains on our driveway

looking shameful beneath the streetlights.

It was the night I found the baby opossum

rattling around the trashcan
trapped in the bottom and stubborn.

When she seemed to grin I took that
as a sign of grace and carried

her limp body to bed with me.

The next morning I woke to you
packing and the opossum still unconscious

in the sunken place of my chest.

Bellerophon Starts From The Beginning

I murdered my brother
so others may understand

there are no such things
as selfless confessions.

Try to see it this way:

When you hold a dead leaf
or a butterfly wing

up to the sun there is a pattern
to the light.

Without this
the sky is nothing

but a senseless blue.
My brother yes

his life was an accident
though a measure one.

His the sheet of tracing paper
laid across the map.

But I never thought to ask why.

When my brother lay dying
I only thought to notice

the dappled green of the forest
not the trees

but the shadow of their branches
the shapes
they formed on his body.


I was given my name
the way a wolf comes
to know its teeth

my name already fallen like dust
on the doorsteps of my neighbors
(who will have me in?)

my name taken to dark corners.

Men will say nothing
except for what
their words allow.

In truth the tailors
of this world are blind
they are working

with only the idea of fabric.

I wear the clumsy dress.

Look how my name hangs off
my shoulders

what little comfort it affords.

See where the wind blows in
through the tatters.


Matthew Zingg‘s work can be read in The Awl, Cider Press Review, Blackbird, Sink Review, and The Rumpus among others. He received his MFA from Adelphi University and currently lives in Baltimore.