Matthew Zellmer

St. Apollonia

There are songs she memorizes
like the pulling of teeth, gutting their melodies
down to a stutter, defective like God

dressed up for the morning after.
Drenched in an alien scent, something on
the fringes of juniper, she is gin and

tectonic, straining against a punchdrunk
earthquake of a smirk. Aftershocks ripple
like hymnals aimed at the holes in heaven.

The sky is red-faced and pregnant.
Her voice never remembers the rain.  
When a piano clangs itself dry,

chordless and somewhere just south
of sober, she can feel winter dancing
a panic across the white flag

of her skirt. Winter is a grudge fuck,
leatherclad and zipper-teethed. It is
a church pew tithing at the wood chipper.

She carries mercy between her knees,
buries a lake bed in her breath just to watch
it freeze. Ice picks have since mined

the detritus from her mouth. Silence
would have sent a crack down her spine
if she was not so well-mortared.

Each of her ribs is a tuning fork, still pitch-perfect,
like bourbon-soaked prayers. If God answers,
He’ll have to fight static on her frequency.

Author Portrait

Matthew Zellmer completed a B.A. in English Studies, with a minor in Creative Writing, at California State University, Chico in 2009, and an M.A. in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing, at Chico State in December of 2012. He is deeply committed to the craft of poetry. After his lovely wife, language is his second greatest obsession. He is addicted to its liquidity, and revels in its spoken qualities. He performs his poetry regularly, enjoys playing the drums, and finds delight in the occasional cup of tea. Unashamedly, he’s also a big fan of tube socks.

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