A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Haley Lane Thompson




We do it out of thievery,
In front of a wood burning stove. 
Your mask is made of pure bone.
Mine is made of the leg of the couch,
The one where we had built our nest.
Watching and unwatching
the faces of buildings that have no mask
being built and then, rebuilt again. 
I am sorry about your surgery, 
But it must be removed. 
You ask why all the poems happen
Only when you do domestic things.
I say because in my mind men who peel
And cut melons are rare and slight.
Those men only ever appear in poems. 
Except when you are here
And I am hungry. 



Driving Through Wisconsin



We wondered how many words
Were created for things that do not exist:
Teleportation. Unicorn. Alchemy. 

Then we thought about names
For our children who do not exist
And about all the amazing things they will do. 

And I thought of all the things that I have done
That do exist between here and the person
I see when I picture myself here. 

Trees will sway you at the throat of it.
You see, for the first time
What it is to take things the hard way. 

I think about you
and what our life might be like.
I knew we’d wed because
once you drew a circle
wide enough to encompass me. 

I allowed you to and thought not once
about omitted souls
Trapped in these trees passing by like
the electric hum from a box television

Gasping to replay landing on the moon,
While no one watches
for the very first time.


My favorite souvenir is a mixed tape a received for my 22nd birthday. I consider it a souvenir because of the memories it holds and for how long it has traveled with me without becoming lost along the way. 

Haley Lane Thompson is a school teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. She received an M.F.A. In Poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2009. He first collection of poems was published in 2013 by Shipwreckt Books, entitled Home is Place Worth Burying.