Gale Marie Thompson
Covering Elizabeth Bishop

[“Cal, have you ever gone through caves?”]

All night in this green world, I have the impulse
to disappear: dreaming again of islands
shedding islands, glass eyes and clamshells
between cold walls. I finger an eyelet
in the smaller room, only to turn over
some heft of shell, some heavier breasts,
lonelier ribcage. Some scientist I find myself.
I name this future loss, a thin bark falling
from where this body keeps touching
other bodies, it won’t quit, in refulgence,
in the coffee beans spilled on staircases
where others won’t wake up they won’t wake up.
Refulgence, cousin of to shine back. Only
on the kitchen floor can I still touch you,
a haptic terminal to harken. Only this,
simple key, is why we continue the myth
of the hair shirt. I have a small kitchen
heated by this large basin of warm water
and verbena. Look again: do we disappear
or do we stop touching? Wake up, diver.
Heave your absence on the green of me.
Please dive down, please wake up.


Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press, 2014) and two chapbooks. Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Better, Denver Quarterly, Volt, Best New Poets 2012, Guernica, and others. She edits Jellyfish Magazine and writes, teaches, and lives in Athens, GA.