Mathew Pereda



The Marshlands


I was sinking in all that green-blue, legs turning silt, hair resembling moss, eyes like two tadpoles zipping in my skull. I listened to the birds warbling some sad song through their puffed chests, their molting, over-weaned bodies. You shot each one with your zip-gun, a pipe on wood, a rubber band trigger, their bodies echoing against the ground—it’s how I knew you were getting closer. You took your time saving me. You carefully carved a wherry from a fallen tree. You teased me with your arms outstretched, waved me into your clutches like you were happy to see me, only to retreat at the last glistening second, leaving me parched and unsatisfied, as dry and reckless as Tantalus. You told the kids to wait outside the treeline, tied their wrists to the closest tree trunks while you went deeper, looking for my bright red cap among the foliage.



A Proper Explanation


When my love breaks, and hearts start
leaking out like spoiled fruit, you’ll be sorry
you didn’t leave with your mouth dry
and lank, spinning tightly,
eyes like a carousel horse, light
dotting your pupils like
a revelation of sorts, reminding
you of when we tried
to be honest, except you didn’t like
the way my voice sounded,
all the words that were coming louder
than gravity, sounding
like heat-thunder, settling
in your ear-space, and you asking me
to soak the smoke from your open
chest, your body limp and tepid,

while people went in and out, searched
high and low, looking for evidence
of us in anything at all—

finding, instead, the broken glass in
the entryway, the half-turned blinds,
the sound of the floor chiding
beneath heavy silence, the hives
of darkness in every corner
of every room, like something
was telling me to rip the walls open
wide, to lure something inhuman
into our home, but I didn’t listen,
decided to fold the mirrors in
on themselves, unfolded
them to find bloody
Rorschach’s—these tiny
huddled blots—which reminded
you of leaving, so you did,
and I stayed,

while people went in and out, searched
high and low, looking for evidence
of us in anything at all.






Mathew Pereda’s hobbies do not include fishing, hunting, bird watching, pearl diving, fortune telling, matter splitting, coin collecting, or jigsaw puzzles (he’ll never like those) though he does love the word “jigsaw.” He loves words, in general. Read more of Mathew’s words at Outrageous FortuneMicrofiction Monday, and Sweet.

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