Gale Marie Thompson
from HELEN OR MY HUNGER

We double up to hunt. We can learn to love in private, widening and Greek.

I write this breach for you, Helen. The system I’ve already followed before I can say “I follow.” And it is unremarkable. Instead of knowing, this body names. This body takes and takes its mark; the forgotten version is crystal under its thumbs.


This poem equals the length of fission; for example: I AM IN PAIN and not just YET  I  AM  WRITING  /  but  I  AM  IN  PAIN  AND  THEREFORE  / MY WRITING IS THIS WAY. I master open my own vessel, test out the touch. Cut my hair to pull the bloody text out from under me.


Helen, the swell in me feels the double, desires it across from me and yet it is not me. Nightly now I expose the under pattern I have woven, use pieces to make a passage.


I forget what has been constructed in other people’s words, keep lists to sustain anger. No decision my own but always against a mother, father. I fall asleep and find myself round with narrative.


I am certain this museum can be summoned better by hand.




from HELEN OR MY HUNGER

Helen, I spoke to you when I wrote a trick about termites


When I spoke to you I wrote “the glass bends with the fecundity of mother termites” / I spoke to the window / with my own body’s naked mirror in it / I spoke lit with sweat


This part is meat of me / the only meat of myself / the simplicity / the purge the open net / how irreducible it felt to burst hard to destruct / to build the body then destroy it / to wake up dreading the suspension / I once knew in my throat and again / bright red to face my body and deflate


The form is instruction is no soft space / is where I bleed above my space / I face my own carving and chain it to the floor


now the orange tabby outside

she wants to eat from my hand

(good women / virus  / etc.)

Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press) and two chapbooks: If You’re a Bear, I’m a Bear (H_NGM_N) and Expeditions to the Polar Seas (Sixth Finch). Her work can or will be seen in places like Gulf Coast, Guernica, Denver Quarterly, Volt, Sixth Finch, TIMBER, and Colorado Review. She is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine, and she lives, writes, and teaches in Athens, GA.