Gale Marie Thompson

Elegy with a Hangover and X-Files

This morning is fucked, tasked. Neither
a moving performance nor stream of split
images pushed to ease this vector.
I put my hands behind my head
like she used to do. I wait to be radioed
through the horrible bird static.
Scully’s cancer is finally in remission,
so now they’re telling me it’s time
to pull back the black moss, to start again
inside this bruise. To cup some early red
hope beyond the flailing. I am just
a cold body thriving underneath.
I guess the brain grieves in two halves,
each one built like an almond,
or a skinned knee. Left, and I only wear
hats beginning with the letter t
(tam, toboggan). Right, and I can’t seem
to draw a goddamn cardinal for the life of me.
I am affixed to no other hub. This arriving
and arriving at the same solution.
Some way past the molecular.
I cut an apple in half and continue cutting
for years. I calculate what it would take
to buy a lifetime supply of Yardley’s
English lavender soap. Chris says that outside
the rosemary is crowding out the mint. I tell him that the kale keeps dying
and then re-growing out of that death,
taller and taller each time, so that
one day it will be as tall as me, assuming
I will still be my tallness.
A film decays like having a favorite film decays.
When I watch The Longest Day now I push away
enemy vectors, wrapped up in nonstop gunfire
and John Wayne’s tall ankles quietly breaking.
I want to touch that function. I want to feel
like I could be reached. Like even now
there’s a maze of flowering azaleas to crawl
beneath. Like if I wanted to I could dress in red,
cut my hair like a boy, name two cats
Cricket and Little Brother and move into
a kind of calm. Outside now birds are calling
each other family and falling asleep.
Maybe one is a cardinal.

Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press), and the 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 Sixth Finch, Columbia Poetry Review, They Will Sew the Blue Sail, Better, Guernica, TYPO, Volt, and the Colorado Review. She is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine, and she lives, writes, and teaches in Athens, GA.

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