Man Putting on Boots

By Mattea Dean

Maybe if he slept for a day with me

and we could bear to be there forever

only loving, we might succeed, always

the words said perfectly: every I love you

etching into our brain stems, rhythm

of our pulses in tandem, the hot

and dense fog of our breaths

in the blanket cocoon, that comforting

soft shelter against the crumbling

plaster walls. Only yards away


his boots loom at us

threatening to overcome

our serenity

inside this private world

by forcing themselves onto his feet. But they just

sit there to wait or rot

in the corner, and I wish we could,

if we only lay still right here,

know each other better than the rest. But

then, so long as the boots plant themselves in the corner

we’ve got no time, our bodies cling

to one last sliver of heat

to rightly assure us, the dusty

leather skin of their bodies

slouched there. Old and worn, they whisper

their pleas in asthmatic voices

ingrained with accumulated wisdom

as he rises to put them

onto his cracked feet

like the rest of him, a mass of scars

in ropy skin and well-worn arms

flexing their lengths outward

with a ripple of light.

Warrior Princess

” This is about my diva cat Mary. “

By Mattea Dean

Her round ochre eyes stare complacently

From under the blanket, scrutinizing her prey-

A fuzzy blue sock


Her ear twitches, sending her voice into a high-pitched battle cry

She rises, adjusts her stance-

Then pounces


A mass of sleek black fur,

A tumble of outstretched claws and hissing throat

Then just as quickly, she backs away

Innocent and demure


She prances nonchalantly back to her perch under the blanket

The picture of composure

An angel with a demon inside


She waves her limbs in the air, begging to be petted

Her belly is scratched

And she falls into the gentle rumble of repose.

Sylvia 103°

” This is about Sylvia Plath because I have this weird fascination with her. “

By Mattea Dean

Your name rolls off my tongue like bittersweet honey.

At age thirty, you abandoned this world

Your rage, your passion, your suffering-


Internal demons wrestle with mindless abandon, sense is overshadowed

by the dullness and fatness of Cerberus


Cerberus, a giant of your own dark psyche

Was your paradise a mortal realm, or was your paradise an ashy, otherworldly place,

Pure, no longer hurtful to you, our unstable acetylene virgin?


Your selves may dissolve, but the pieces scatter and settle in the corners

of my own shadowy awareness.

A Proposal

” Some rhyming thing I wrote for a Weltzien class and I thought it was cool. “

By Mattea Dean

I invited Death for a cup of tea,

He said he wanted to marry me.

I told him I wasn’t prepared to commit,

He said, “Well that’s a shame, isn’t it?”

Told me we could be best friends

Lovers and soul mates until the end.

I do believe he meant what he said,

And his words did not fill me with dread,

But Death is not the monogamous sort

Perhaps he used me as a last resort.

Out of Misery

“About killing your lover in a zombie apocalypse after said lover is bitten.”

By Mattea Dean

We loved as if there were nothing left;

Our hearts watched destruction unfold

I pulled the shotgun’s trigger, leaving a cleft

Never did I think I would be so bold

But when the bite began to froth,

and his veins turned dark with sin,

my lover begged me; let me not

become a mindless member of the din

And so I picked his shattered body up

and added fuel to the flames

His bones were charred, his fingers cupped

around my photo in a frame

This cremation of a deadly virus

which steals our sense of humanity

The tears ran down as I thought of us

and what I had thought we could be.