March 27, 2023

Tell Me a Secret

by Matt Dennison

I said from the tub as she knelt
by the side stirring the water

and she said, When I was a girl,
before my breasts had grown,

I thought one breast produced
chocolate milk, the other white,

until I found my mother dead,
flat dead on the kitchen floor

when I was nine and knew
my beautiful—see them?—

breasts-to-be would one day
be for you. Scrub yourself. Place

these in the future for yourself.
Make yourself clean.


After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans (street musician, psych-tech, riverboat something-or-other, door-to-door poetry peddler, etc.), Matt Dennison finished his undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University where he won the National Sigma Tau Delta essay competition (judged by X.J. Kennedy). His work has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, The Inflectioniest Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He is the author of Kind Surgery, from Urtica Press (Fr.) and Waiting for Better, from Main Street Rag Press. He has also made short films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, Marie Craven and Jutta Pryor. He currently lives in a 118-year-old house with ‘lots of potential’ and can be reached at