Gale Marie Thompson

No Heart

With people now I find myself scraped,
with no more open door. I find the little
things, like when you caught the curve
of my back or when I ate funny and danced
to feel my body and you left alone
with dander on your cheeks. I find that
I want to tell you about monarch butterflies
and their migration. I think you will
understand, need you to understand.
I remember us like this, being up most of
the night with you driving toward me. I hate you
always knowing the joy of the very first thing.
Because here I am rebuilding that old room
inside my head, where the piano goes,
and the bowl for flowers and fish. It is not
so empty, like seeing your own systems
on a screen outside of you. My therapist
asks me where on my body do I place
my family, and can I touch it. I cannot
touch it. But I can sing to you like you’re
someone uplit, and I can learn that the
kilogram is getting heavier and not feel so
alone in my own knowledge. At some points
moving inward is inevitable. I am sitting
doggedly at my own table. Even though
I told you to wait, I don’t own a thing
of what I say. Would you massage my heart
with your hands? Would you use those paddles
inside of me? Even though I told you to wait,
I wouldn’t mind if you didn’t give me
quite as much space.

Explorer In The Classic Mold

I lost a little bit back there,
my boots a heart on the oak floor.
I need a better way to sleep it off,
to put away the night window
and its wire grid, these strong altarpieces
pressing up against bedroom walls.
How you leaned into the sidewalk,
flushing, settled. How you drove toward me
and at the last minute moved on.
We are protecting all of the wrong things.
The radio turns into hymns at night
and no one else is concerned. I listen
to myself being shaped, knowing nothing
except pure function, pure bone and codex.
You may think you are getting smaller
but you are not getting smaller.
Keep asking me if I’m sleeping.
I’m not sleeping. I’m not sleeping.


Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press) and the chapbooks Expeditions to the Polar Seas (Sixth Finch Books) and If You’re a Bear, I’m a Bear (H_NGM_N). Her poems can or will be found in places like Denver Quarterly, Parcel, Volt, iO: Poetry, Best New Poets 2012, New Megaphone, and H_NGM_N. She is the founder and editor of Jellyfish Magazine and lives, writes, and teaches in Athens, GA.