Insert PIN


he draws a pinhole

breath, bowling ball sunk

in the sternum. gutter-

bound before the foot

flick. his brain is

all pins and needles

poking the pink ink

in his throat. mouth

a crumbling pyramid. his

teeth a collision of

ghosts. he tries to

think happy thoughts. how

the pinwheel spins in

the summer breeze. and

that reminds him of

his mouth again. a

ten car pileup. his

fat tongue flipped. wheels

spin under the sun.

a hot flash that’ll

melt the spine. a

failed mechanism that coping

  1. the shrink gave

him four steps. but

when it strikes, her

voice sounds like the

squeal of hoping. his

mouth, a slaughterhouse. watch

the rotten meat plop

off his conveyor belt

tongue. watch him try

to pin down the

anxiety before it swallows

him. boy forgot the

PIN code. locked out

his own head again.

MATTHEW COONAN is a poet and teaching assistant from Long Island, New York. He is a three-time SUNY Oneonta Grand Slam Champion and received the “Best of the Rest” award for his poem “Fish” at CUPSI 2015. His poems are published or forthcoming in The Drunken Violet Review, 35mm Magazine and Inklette. Matthew is also pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Stony Brook University.