Online Exclusive

Dream Duets
“Hyperbole wouldn’t hurt.” “If it were true.” “The Truth is a ship that seldom floats to shore.” “They said I was too loose and too literal at the same time.” “Obviously, one side of your body is jelly, the other’s a wooden stump.” “Well, one half of the world is water, and one half of the sea is silt.” “Did you produce the needed paperwork?” “I gave them my IDs.” “And?” “They chose Bohemian Rhapsody.” “Oh, she had a perfectly delicate manicure!” “Why, he has an overly organized abdomen!” “The criteria got smaller and smaller till all we saw were pinpricks on a background of blinding UV light.” “We grew tired of his phrase ‘Manifest Destiny,’ which he muttered as a mea culpa for his endless misbehavior.” “OK, he broke me into a decimal, and I became even more neurotic.” “OK, they broke me into a decimal, and I left for an Ayurvedic spa in Kerala.”


“Rode into town on a stallion, rode out of town on an ass.” “I pulled my weight, plus a rope dangling tin cans.” “It was less a handshake than a wallet grab, less a wallet grab than a covert system of capitalist exploitation.” “All manners of disguise failed to conceal the badger at the costume ball.” “Mark my word, in a round-robin tournament.” “Dignity descends, a dropsy of expectations.” “She called crying, I stood in the phone booth in the middle of the night, wondering what to say.” “Why do I feel so apprehensive? Why do I need so many treats?” “It’s your bourgeois diet.” “I could pull out my tongue and see how I feel.” “So much philosophy, so little right action.” “All the nursery rhymes couldn’t save us, then.”


“I had a problem for you, and you didn’t solve it.” “It was imaginary.” “Not all that appears reappears. It may be only once that you glimpse Pythagoras.” “Did you say Pythagoras?” “Might could be, apparently so.” “Was your problem related to math?” “Of an existential dimension.” “That’s the sort that interested me before my career set in.” “And then?” “It was one plus one in shades moving toward infinity.” “That’s too bad, to go so foul: a happy mess is commodious.” “When the end begins, the middle wiggles.” “Endings should be optional.” “Like a hieroglyph never deciphered.” “Like a bracelet of molecules worn on your ankle.” “Like a cudgel never lifted, like a rainbow before the rain.”


“I think the point is she’s too hard and Hans’s sword cracks into pieces.” “We love to hear your voice.” “But I’m only a child.” “A child parted the sea with palms spread wide.” “It was inland, and salty.” “A child begins the eulogy, then blesses the refugees with hope.” “Looking back, I don’t know.” “Looking forward, my eyes find the horizon.” “Aphrodisiacs of words, strung together like lights.” “Jellyfish winking on the sea.” “Lovers cuddling in the craters of bombs.” “At borders where workers pour water into parched mouths.” “Just don’t stare so much.” “But I like your brown eyes.” “Just read the book.” “I’ll read to you till the end of time.” “You’re my father, don’t act like someone else.” “Once upon a time I was waiting for you.” “In California?” “In a city near the ocean where the trees burned for days.”

Matt Reeck’s poems have recently appeared in Brooklyn RailConjunctions, and Black Warrior. He will publish two translations in 2019: Deep Vellum’s "Muslim": A Novel from the French of Zahia Rahmani; and Wesleyan University Press’s French Guiana: Memory Traces of the Penal Colony from the French of Patrick Chamoiseau.