Potluck

 

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Three Poems


Pooled in Places
 

I used to be a simmer—slow heat stretching
red up the arms, a low flame, risen
up or snuffed out with a cough. Meaty,

ready to be plucked up bit by bit
in a spoon, blew and cooled and consumed,
knocked back like an oyster. Knocked

back and away from the water’s
edge. Do you know the difference
between when the sea is looking

glass and when it’s glass-looking?
Tell me when you dip into the bits
of me  that are pooled in places, 

as they come to be, are they hot
like sea glass in the August sun
or cool as when you shove your hands

into the sand underneath?  
At times I think at the center
of you are fraying bits of red twine

curled so tight, with no softness
in between, like when the cat knotted
up his insides with curling ribbon

and lived three long days before puking
up the whole damn mess. To inhale I suck
my tongue against the hard palate, coolly 

pulling new air across my gums. Listen,
what I’m really trying to tell you is this: 
a body cools from the outside

in; the heart may still be warm. 
Damp wood can still draw smoke.

 

 

 

 

 

Other Forms of Baptism
 

This evening I am dark
and I am sure

there are stars. Old stars, pushing
old light past here.

This is not about rebirth,
about finding the way

to heaven. This is
about changing my state

of matter. I want to be plasma.
(This is not about heaven.)

This is a calculation
of the formula for sky.

or my distance from it. 
It seems the only way 

to get to heaven
is to evaporate

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Now
 

Settle down, 
you tumbleweed.
You Canadian goose.
You plastic bag
in the parking lot.
There’s nothing
to rush about.
There’s nothing
like this moment
again. You still
wonder. Yesterday
you developed
a knack for climbing
trees, today the urge
to take flight. I watched
through a window.
I gave you a sign
or two. The long light
shone red along
your arms. You ran
up the street, bright
hands outstretched—wait,
wait—then pavement. 
I didn’t know
if you could hear me
through the pane,
didn’t rush out
but waited, watched: 
your body no longer
yours, not heavy
with every rhyme
you ever learned.
When will you enter
the house looking
for me? When will you
blow back out? When
will, at last, I? 
There you go. 
There, you go.

 

 

 

 

Alison Thumel is a Chicago-based writer. Her work has recently appeared in Fruita Pulp and Lockjaw Magazine. You can occasionally find her on Twitter at @alisynthetic.