Caligula’s Mattress

By Rick Bursky

Her mattress was delivered to me the other day. I recognized the blood stain and for an instant thought to wet my finger, drag it over the dried crimson and see if it would taste like her. The ink stain, from the night I feel asleep writing with an old fountain pen, I recognized that, too, and tried to remember what I was writing. It’s been two years since we’ve slept together on it. I imagine its springs are uneven, making a good sleep unlikely. I imagine this can interrupt a dream. I imagine that she read the magazine article about Caligula that said after having sex he occasionally sent the mattress to the woman. I don’t remember if there was an explanation. There are, after all, more important things to remember, like a splinter in the tongue from a wooden chopstick.

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Rick Bursky

Rick Bursky / About Author

My new book, I’m No Longer Troubled By the Extravagance, was out from BOA. My previous book, Death Obscura, was published by Sarabande. And my poems have appeared many places and many places including the AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW; FIELD, IOWA REVIEW, GETTYSBURG REVIEW, PRAIRIE SCHOONER, and ANTIOCH REVIEW.

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