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Veronica Mattaboni


(n) a woman who emphasizes a life of passion, expressed through personal
style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures

Lore leans across the bar and hisses
something from the bottom of her throat,
a frequency nearly missed among
the music and strobe lights.
The bartender flicks his tongue,
forked and pronged, into the hum.
A grin splits across her face
watching him taste her perfume.
He slinks over to her end of the bar,
places a glass on the wood
in front of her, and winks
with one vertical eyelid, then one horizontal.
Can I get you something?

She flashes him a row of pearlescent canines.
Surprise me Talons clink musically
against the glass as he lifts
her yet empty drink from the counter,
unblinking, and turns to the mirrored
wall of liquor.

With her bare shoulder blades
pressed against the bar, Alloe
picks a mealworm from her amaretto sour
and crushes it between her molars.
Did you get a look at his nails? Ouch. She pulls the corner
of her cerulean hair behind an antler.

Lore shifts in her skin, a delighted grin.
I was too busy watching his tongue. My kind of guy.

Alloe shakes her head.
Nu-uh, I don’t do claws. I like my panties in one piece, thank you.

Lore tugs down the edge of her rose-gold skirt
and hops up on the bar.
See your first mistake,
She crosses one scaled knee over the other.
was wearing underwear in the first place.


(n). of grey skies and winter days; filled with heavy clouds or fog

Alloe knew the car would not run
long before she got behind the wheel
that morning.

She holds her hands up
to the overcast and watched
the grey palette of her skin
meld with the clouds until
she became nothing but
a watercolor of weather and flesh:
pewter and cobalt
and lips like pouring rain.

Down to the branching tips of her antlers
she could feel the car resisting
her touch like a jaded lover.
C’mon baby. Do it for me.

Her mind flickered
to horns hooked over a slouching beanie
and a boyish smile that struck her like lightning.
She thought of clipping
the jumper cables to her collarbones
and daydreaming all day.
But there was work to get to, of course.
There’s always work to get to.


(n) the state of being infatuated with another person, often unrequited

Cross-legged, Marx
hovered in the air like punctuation,
his shoestrings pointed lazily
at the living room carpet
of the boy’s apartment.
The neck of the tiny instrument
comically small in his lanky palms
pressing the pads of his fingers to frets
and plucking the four strings
in slow, dramatic movements.
See? This one is a C chord. Easy stuff.

Alloe looked up from her own ukulele
at him, sighing and stretching
cramped knuckles.
Sure, it’s easy when you do it.

He chuckled a wide, wolfish smile;
the faint points of his longer
lower canines resting just over
the top ones. Marx floated
to her side and lowered himself
to the floor beside her.
Here, like this.

He reached out and took her fingers,
and she became acutely aware
of the tingling currents shooting
from where the warm skin of his arm
met her own.
Her nerve endings
sang with electricity.
You’re too stiff. Just relax your muscles.

Her fingers twitched beneath his
Knowing she should move them
And yet unable to bring herself
To do anything but turn to him.
And he, in turn,
Lifted his head to meet her gaze.
Suddenly finding themselves
Only inches from the other’s mouth
Though they hadn’t moved.

Hey dude, open up! Someone banged against the front door,
unwittingly jackhammering their seclusion
with the completeness of ripping a table cloth
from its counter and cutlery.

Marx inhaled sharply, held it a moment
and exhaled as he pulled away, standing.
He offered Alloe a hand, and she took it
with closed eyes and flamingo cheeks.
She straightened her skirt and ran a hand
through her cerulean hair.
He pulled his oxblood beanie up
and hooked it under twin crescent bones
protruding from his forehead.

He shot her one more glance,
and with a jittery sigh,
opened the door
and clipped the moment.

➥ Bio