Matt Broaddus
The Seal of Approval

I drifted for years

not knowing it

until I washed up

on the island of the seal of approval.

No one greeted me.

The fires were dead.

The paths grown over.

I was cold, called out.

No one answered.

Through the dusk I shivered.

A snowflake I might have been.

When I touched my face

it was someone else’s memory

opening the canopy of frosted palms

behind which presided

the seal of approval.

Its curled body expressed a mobius strip,

a map of imagined countries

some of which I’d lived for a time.

Purple, brown, pink, and blue

states roiled tectonically across its skin.

Its whiskers wiggled.

It might have barked

a message I couldn’t understand.

I touched the face that wasn’t mine.

The palms began to close, recede.

I lost sight of the seal

on its dais of tropical ice

I knew tasted of bubblegum.

My audience with the seal of approval,

when I survey it from this distance,

belonged to another life.

But there is no one left to ask

what was given.



Found In Volume 52, No. 02
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Matt Broaddus
About the Author

Matt Broaddus is the author of the chapbooks Two Bolts (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2021) and Space Station (Letter [r] Press, 2018). His first full-length poetry collection, Temporal Anomalies, will be published in 2023 from Ricochet Editions. His poetry collection Deeper the Tropics is also forthcoming from BUNNY Presse/Fonograf Editions.