by Gale Marie Thompson
The green in June dances itself to death.
I have come to a place not knowing. Not knowing
the names of these new trees, I eat and find
some way to eat again. I can’t escape
the gossamer-dull voices of men
in an interview, reminding me
to do what I am told. Softly. To fix my lips.
I am called kiddo. Aren’t we a family?
I have been charged enough with catgut
and too-far idiocy. It is only called unwell
if the family agrees. Language the jawbone of law,
law the testament of downplay and dull
echo down the throat. I take to
unblotting this genesis, am surprised
to find the catgut still in me. Under small orbit
she thrums and waits for the kill.
She chatters through iron teeth. It was
a mistake to think there is no pain in orbit.
The fire takes us street by street.
We are in the red canyons. We are not a family.
Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press, 2015) and Helen or My Hunger (YesYes Books, 2020). She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Her work appears in Gulf Coast, American Poetry Review, Guernica, jubilat, Bennington Review, Colorado Review, and others. She is founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine, and she lives, writes, and teaches in Grand Rapids, Michigan.