Author: Matthew Hittinger

Matthew Hittinger is the author of two poetry collections, Skin Shift (2012) and The Erotic Postulate (2014) both from Sibling Rivalry Press. He lives and works in New York City.

Cross Bucket Candle Knife

Cross Bucket Candle Knife


out of the flower grow

shoulders ulna carpal

meta carpal twig radiate

green muscle sheathe

star flower fish bud

for an eye for a mouth


femur for a knee seat

cap cocoa bean drum

beat bone crease if one

leg one arm 90-degree

a flat board pin rotate

pole does a ten moon

balloon diagram orbit

an invisible planet six

stamen pecans shaped

head upside heart down

family tree branches

forced snail whorl ball

curve thorn turn branch

that is not branch ball

pedestal ghost stand

in the gallery a ready

made scarecrow objects

to the object made ready


bird of paradise wields

a knife sting ray head

scalpel for the skinned

saint step this way one

hand raised judgment

triumph or illustration

a circulatory system

tuning fork for the Re

of a peeled back torso

plants’ pecan eye says

mandible tongue root

grunt stamen crown

bud drop long turn-

key double hollow off

a sliced open avocado


here the missing skin

crustacean spine cords

rib cage pine cone coffee

bean bun nape locust

wing veil two leaf

mountain crown

ascend the rosetta

blocks lizard tail

pyramids leech teeth

crater segment closed

pillar compass skull jaw

on the brain three bird

eggs honey combed

stamen electrical cord

scrawled and scarabed

blocks scabbed ancient

abacus names tiered


cactus potato fine

hairs on the flat aloe

slab single barnacled

breast two-fetus chalice

corked with a knight’s

helm elbow rooster

eye octopus growth

tentacles bone heart

onion roll clementine

slice slot and tab

stalk feeler umbilical

cord glow eye or ball

single leg single arm

pinned pivot pedestal

chat with a grand

daddy leg tourniquet

key proffered balloon

arm candelabra pod

a thumb in open hand

shake blooming star

head fish petals repeat

line and ball line ball

circuit and nub road

thought place thorns

that go nowhere charge

the air flat board heeled

planked flanked peeled


gnome skull glow

wave beard halo

beam streak Martian

moon to a barren

landscape two hands

disembodied cuff

reach but do not

touch flat matter

covers sandwiched

silhouette a tower

and two lights dark

escarpment Horus

crowned fortress


condor dinosaurs

jungle net in Vs

and Xs beak talon

boas serpentine strike

hook and question

mark one woman’s

shoe white rose toe

snake skinned cross

piece curio box old

desk drawers rail

ties ladder rung


a plow a pipe two

seated sphinx Easter

island stone face

leonine curl the first

sphinx riddles why

bangled human arms

hold exposed horse

shoe crab its shell

a bowl its stinger

a lance hand grabs

striped shrimp leg

segs stone throne

a condor perches

on the sphinx’s

echo wings folded

like a shell answer

in a whorled tress


consider the shoe

tower a ladies’ laced

boot bowed curled

hose horn bangled

font a plate of fire

revolver handle ear

bracelet a man’s

hooked hat shelled

skin guard a man’s

loafer knee slipper

hip toe pipe smoke

bellows heel eel

turkey or rooster

or kingfisher curve

marble eye pie tin

thought bubble crown


earth a hard boiled

cup seven magistrates

egg shake hands severed

at the fore gallery float

planked space earth’s

spooned fate baked


pile five golden eggs

nexus of three balls

and three balls seven

eyes lash out three

eyes marble earth

birthed from Venus’s

fly trap shell pillars

eye recede articulate

points infinite trills

There Were No Sculptures & Stendhal Syndrome / Nude Study

There Were No Sculptures

           at the Socrates park their lots
taped off for seed and sod

           there were no sculptures there

they had all gone home penned
           to peer over a weed covered fence

were no sculptures there were

           bent steel beams and painted rods
sheet metal cut outs and rusted knots

           no sculptures there were no

chimes but three balls belled the silence
           behind the vanes’ cupped ends

sculptures there were no sculptures

           so we posed in their stead
“like a milder wren” you cut a ‘t’ from threat

           and dubbed me “heart with tin gem”

Stendhal Syndrome

/                                                      Nude Study

Not quite a swoon but like a spoon Sun slab frames your limbs bleaches blue
          not quite snug in the spoon slot sheets, skin be it black, olive,          
not quite lined with the other spoons white in this light it holds no hue
that silken sheen jars like a spot just a shadow edge, hieroglyph
light metal glint lodged behind eye composed of pores on one man dark
          but not so harsh just a brown dots the hairs torn from the chest          
body turning gold in my mind white bumps cluster the ocher mark
Sargent’s light, memory’s a crown called nipple and shaft shadows rest
not for the head but for the cleft their lines against your packed abs where
          between pecs where skin burns white on another a soft mat          
no rotunda study here left curls against cheek, ear, a path flares
free from myth and history’s bite from the navel’s lower lip, black
for the simple project called form blaze a nest for the bulge and neck
          called awe pleasure and delight of the sleeping pear. On some          
to view, to be viewed, senses stormed the hairs spiral, contour thigh, check
not just by a pose but by light the calf and Achilles curve, thumb
reversed in the eye: a pillow the veins on each arch, the toe tufts.
          straddled head and gaze tilted Lie back my many hued you          
not Sebastian’s long neck, pierced show slide palm under skull base. Heave. Puff.
but a Boston bell hop quilted Hollows braced, sinuous sinew,
in oil, Thomas E. McKeller the side ridged, the clavicle raised
          and before him Nicola A second shadow scratches          
D’Inverno and the colored scruff, brow, shields your eyes from the rays,
beach bodies water and cola. frees the sleeper sand from lashes
Balance your weight on slung back arms as if probed by insect feelers
          thrust chest and shoulders rib cage your blades flipped, ear teeth-tatted          
us V way to uncut inches. stray hairs that escaped the razor
Not a swoon. No. But breathless. Yes. stray light balled in an off ballad.