Sentinel Poetry (Online) #55 ISSN 1479-425X


Editor-in-Chief: Amatoritsero Ede

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Mathew Martin




the matter of neglected possibility, dumb

revenge of inconceived organs and histories


cramming the cavities of the body and

soul, metastasizing into delicate fingers


pinching hypothalamic nuclei, into a

brass-knuckled punch in the gut.  these are


the pangs of my unpregnancies; deliverance

is a knife’s slice into skin.



lake Gibson


from the boardwalk it shows the shallow beauty of the faces

of the adolescent girls who here in summer smoke, drink

and talk themselves silly with the filched cigarettes, beer

and words whose treacherous depths they have yet to fathom:

its skin’s light powdering can’t hide the irruptions of old tires

or the shoreline’s spade-hewn angularity; the eye is drawn from

thick stands of trees framing brightly painted farmhouses

to highways, power lines, flights of geese, or the irregular shapes

of black trash bags half buried in the mud nearby.  the pool

between the boardwalk and the near bank, though, is an emerald

eye that open teaches broken bottle glass what beauty can be,

enjewelling all it sees—rushes, branches, rusty iron, light, me—

until the eyelid of the ordinary closes to return all to stones,

water, and crude carbon life looking for transfiguration.

in memoriam: Mary and Cecil


“stranger beware,” their epitaph might read,

“for we know not how we came to be here.”

Mary wandered in, unaware the place was any different

from all the rest her Alzheimer’s had led her to

forget, unable to name the self-effacing fellow

who drew her from the crowd of tender,

unrecognized faces.  two days before, alone,

Cecil was mugged from behind by a hoodlum

heart-attack.  after, he couldn’t ID his assailant

or find his way home, though the phone

in the kitchen kept ringing, the children wondering

why he wasn’t at the hospital by Mary’s side.

“look behind you, stranger, or in the mirror

earthed six feet under.  face it if you can.”


no longer in service


death is groping the maiden.  no longer her voice,

a golden harp with strings of dirty words, will beckon

bedwards across continents to lonely men errant

in empty hotel rooms.  no longer her hourglass figure

will slip into the impossible tropes her clients desire,

her breathy ohs flowing through the phone to explode

their dreams until the time runs out.  they won’t cry,

won’t ask why they’ve been transferred to another line:

their plastic women don’t die, just dye their names.

her daughter won’t cry either but will marvel,

standing over the incised, liposuctioned, suppurating mass

on which the cosmetic surgeon broke his chisels,

that her mother spent her cash and courted death

to be true to her calling, and will wonder if her

gashes were thrilling to the probing bony finger.




flakes of sloughed off skin

accumulating like dust in attics


the backside of sibylline leaves,

prophecy written in the future anterior


mementoes mori, holy relics,

the nail parings of sinners and saints


corpses touched by the embalmer’s art,

chemically fixed and coloured




a piece of work


babies test-tube squeezed into polyester blankets;

petri-dish-perfect tomatoes in cellophane wrap.


discoloured, bloated bodies of gassed villagers;

stained, corroded leaves dropped from dead black trees.


glossies of landmine amputees in charity brochures;

cut and sprayed roses in an ornamental vase.


grain-hauling freighters shitting chemical plague in their wake;

uniforms littering the ocean floor like candy wrappers.


smokestacks and cigarettes, filter tipped;

emphysema rises, ozone withdraws.


flatline of the four seasons,

direct current driving the plug-in green-fused flower.


time arcs from flint-struck spark to megaton conflagration;

fire-bearing slime consumes its mother and belches out the world.






Mathew Martin





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