(not quite) a literary journal


poems from "Serpent's Lap", by Matthew Porubsky


I can see water from here. I am a boy. You rub sunscreen on your hands, tell me to turn, then
spread my shoulders and neck. Thick, white strokes blend away. Between my shoulder blades,
you tap bones of my spine. Sing, “Ding, ding, ding, ding,” leave white fingerprints. They rinse
with a jump in. You drag a foot along water, kick drips to ripples, break surface reflection on the
pool floor. Lost in light, your spread on the towel spread in the grass. Splashes can’t travel to
you, sound or spray. They flood to heat filling your ears, melt to the rosin of your skin by sun.


Spray Spread

Your definition is lost to me.
Wires are collected in a canvas sac, antiquated plugs rusted, bulging with knots.
This wake of nerves will be heavy for you.
I fling it at your feet like a shed scale.


In the Park at Night

I wear a room from head to waist;
             reenact a dead language.

                                      Inside there is no outside.
There are only phrases and arrangements, conjugations fashioning scenes.

          My legs don’t feel air,
feet can’t feel gravel paths or grass.

                                  I understand every meaning.

Eyes see what they know best:
              stream so clear is real is me,
              leaves so yellow are real are me,
              not breathing at all is real is me.

I run, flail my arms in joy of blended words and tones.

Don’t mind wounds on my legs, my bruised, bent toes and feet.

I sprint with abandon, immersion blind, gain velocity,
            leave behind chunks of me in thickets, in dirt.


Star Face

                      Behind my face is another.
Its shape is space, reaching and wide.
                      It sits on eyes like fog.

Reach inside, you’ll feel damp drops on your skin.

                      I have these faces,
all used as selling points;
                      a convincing to add comfort.

                      You could believe my eyes to be genuine,
wrinkles at corners for honest smiles.
                      They are my inside pushing out;
a hernia of truth.

                     Hold my face in your hands.
You’ll feel seams at my temples,
                     see the shift of my hairline.

Reach your hand inside to the wrist,
                      grasp my hollow tone,
let me bead on your skin.

You would make a habit of me.



            Run your hands along; slide to grip a pulse.

Balance is a circle.
                         Circle is a square spinning.

Broken surfaces reflect equal strength; disperse pieces.

They arc around.

Trace sound to form; feather curves of a sculpture.

Trace form to sound; sculpt curves of a feather.

              Cup a bug in your hands, feel it
                         escape your palms,
                         climb wrist.

Tip Jar
photo by Daniel W. Coburn

photo by Daniel W. Coburn

Matthew Porubsky is from Topeka, Kansas. He has four collections of poetry including John and Ruled by Pluto. He works for Union Pacific Railroad. 

Check out more of Daniel W. Coburn's work on his website: danielwcoburn.com