Matthew Lippman
In the Pink Waters of Venus

Matthew Dickman went on a trip.

He put himself into a barrel

and shot his lithe frame into space.

When he got to Venus

he sent me a message.

It was a flower, a purple rose,

from the deep dark.

I will swim today, he said,

in the pink waters of Venus.

It might have been a vagina he was talking about,

but knowing Matthew Dickman means

that when the world looks like an onion

and two kids on bikes about to hit the mud puddle,

that’s about what it’s all about.


I missed him for a second, when I got his rose, and jumped

on my lawnmower to cut the grass

with no shirt on in the thirty five degree Columbia County breeze.

The air against my nipples and mourning doves’ song through the


meant it was spring

even though it was Saturday.

Every daffodil had its head on straight.

Every beaver had a twig in its mouth.


And Dickman was up there orbiting and avoiding,

in full gallop

at 10,000 miles per minute. I shouted,

who the fuck can stop you now, rocket boy!?

But no one could hear a word from my lips,

the mower as loud as a concubine at midnight

between the wet grapes and Egyptian sheets.


The truth of the thing is,

when a man goes on a trip in a barrel

a million miles into space, there’s not a thing any of us can do to stop him.

He comes back when he comes back

and we bake a cake.

Whatever moondust got into his eye, whatever

vision of the celestial madness ricocheted into his lungs,

is his.

That song of solitude;

that slow burn of the beautiful abyss.


He’s up there now, Dickman, in the pink waters of his Venus.

I cut this lawn for him.

Found In Volume 38, No. 01
Read Issue
  • matthew lippman
Matthew Lippman
About the Author

Matthew Lippman is the author of Salami JewMonkey Bars, and The New Year of Yellow, which won the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize.