Gale Marie Thompson
GRIEF VECTOR (1)
I learn the wound
only after impersonating its stroke
how it moves around now inside the wake
how, if our body clocks move forward in the snow
we find familiar constellations
Some streamers of memory, split by a hunting
known and unknown paths
No one speaks of its largeness
Somewhere in whose clothes I was lost in bed
like it is our purpose not to find desired things
like everywhere the casement is pressing
A new way to kill the brain
I need to get back to cataloguing
such regular, non-repeating patterns
a link in a dark chain, so loud to blue
To be “brought to light,” reissued to the present
Rigid still he saw me
through the wasps at the VA hospital
My mother brushing his teeth
I knew better, knew geared to regroup
Now I dream of people so alive to swell
Forgetting is a heavy pigment, apples filling the body
The house being empty, I never stop looking
would be an impulse to disappear
thigh by thigh, a downward choosing
framed and having survived
and no one else
Genetic disease is in our teeth.
It sparkles in ribbons and knocks us, blindly, over.
It begins a new day for the carriage drivers.
They hand us baby girls to apologize to, and we do.
They drive around and around in circles,
sifting the early morning into animal powder.
They are the whitest.
Day after day absorbs from us. Soon we’ll see it all
and disappear. And there is no word for it.
The fizzling afterlife. Don’t tell anyone,
but the devil dreams in parallel lines.
Another baby with my skin lives in the house.
I keep keeping quiet so you’d think my heart was tough.
Let’s talk about the open handfuls of furniture.
Let’s dust for photons and send them flying.
This is the last time someone will say our names.
Glass Eye Poem
Bones are bones
and eyes are replaceable
The sea otters have hands for you
you for the night awake
The unbelievably sheer chance
A long wash missed out on
when I heard you sing on the radio
An uphill glowing Amazon
mostly if not all muscle
you said my teeth are banded
so my jaw always aches
you knitted the smallest
in a seahorse pouch
matted with shampoo
Natural battle feelings
sconces on hedges
your head one-third shaved
It needs to be the most beautiful
eye in the world
to match you
At the airport
your mouth is Jupiter
Them as we are
I mail a package of bird seed and amaranth
They would hope inside of you
I am building your room
with nothing but rubber bands
Half-lit in the desert,
see: pale morning bones
Vowels mark cold spots
in the sky
I want to build you
so that in profile it blooms.
I have a medium-sized (12 in tall?) wooden statuette of a smiling Buddha with his hands raised that was in my grandparents' house in Ridgeway, SC, on a little table right in front of you when you walk in the front door. We sold the house after my grandfather died and my grandmother went into a nursing home. Right before it changed hands I was allowed to run through the house one more time to grab anything left over that I needed/wanted. I grabbed a lot of things, and among them was this Buddha. Now he goes with me everywhere I've ever moved--the tradition has become that he is the first thing that gets placed in a new house, and the last thing to be taken out.
Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press 2014) and the chapbooks If You're a Bear, I'm a Bear (H_NGM_N) and Expeditions to the Polar Seas (Sixth Finch). Her work appears or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, They Will Sew the Blue Sail, Columbia Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Guernica, and others. She is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine lives, writes, and teaches in Athens, GA.