Asleep Atop Bed Bugs by Lucian Mattison


Nightly, the box spring sweats
dark drops of insects, each one
a ripe polyp of black raspberry,
skins taut to the cusp of rupture.
My bed has become a bottle
of polluted laborers, my skin
the soil of an ancient earth.
Mounds rise like incense ash—
the remnants of prayers on my skin
in cold welts. Generations
have worshipped. A nocturnal
pilgrimage to my body
is all some know.
It’s only now that I understand
the urge to abandon those
who have nothing else but the dead
weight of a larger presence
pressing down on them—
how we were all left on this earth.
It cannot matter whose blood we drink.
Increase the scale and stars
become falling dice
on the fabric of reality.
We must never assume
there will be a day that we can
speak the language of the universe.




Lucian Mattison is currently enrolled in the creative writing MFA program at Old Dominion University. His poems can be found or are forthcoming in Country Dog Review, Digital Americana, Muzzle, Poetry Quarterly, and The Quotable. He edits poetry for the Green Briar Review and Barely South Review.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *