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Matthew Tuckner

Lincoln Logs, invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright

And then there are two options, on two separate

plates that my mother proposes for dinner, the first being:

the empiricist conception of knowledge, the other: the real

object encapsulated in a spoon of mother-of-pearl caviar. Almost

all caviar is harvested from dead fish, as wind is almost guaranteed

to be caused by the high pressure descent of cold air, she says, and then

we’re in the Guggenheim and time is passing faster as we wend up

the spiral, once imagined as clad in red marble because red is 

the pigment of creation; a space as much about the movement 

through space as it is about space itself, supposedly. Then, in front 

of me, two paintings I wish were The Garden Of Earthly Delights, 

but are not. Whole salted salmon ovaries are called sujiko, my mother 

whispers to Josef Albers’s Impossibles and I am saying to myself, 

I am more like the son than the father, more Lincoln Log

than Guggenheim. It is always the son who prefers the plastic 

wood to the real wood. Of course, the only Bosch in New York 

is The Adoration Of the Magi, at the bottom of which is a very small dog 

with a pink silk collar, and still, I would prefer the denizen of the garden

crushed by a giant harp plunged into a lute, the naked woman riding 

a woodpecker the size of a horse, the throng lifting a giant strawberry 

from the ground—the humans, the only real object separating

the strawberry and the loam from which it, inexplicably, 

sprouts. And just behind those who worship the strawberry, 

a cow’s grass away, a carp caught in the branches of a birch tree.

And just beneath the tree, a fawn, sniffing at a man’s corpse 

because stock still means ready to eat in this new era 

of delights that begins with knowing intimately the objects

that once consumed, we call names.

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Matthew Tuckner is a writer from New York. He received his BA from Bennington College and is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at NYU where he is Assistant Poetry Editor of Washington Square Review. He received the 2019 Green Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets, selected by Rick Barot. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The American Journal of PoetryCoal Hill ReviewCrab Creek ReviewKestrelThe Missouri ReviewTAGVVERK and Tupelo Quarterly, among others.

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