A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Gale Marie Thompson 



I learn the wound

only after impersonating its stroke 

how it moves around now inside the wake 

how, if our body clocks move forward in the snow 

we find familiar constellations 

Some streamers of memory, split by a hunting 

known and unknown paths 

No one speaks of its largeness 

Somewhere in whose clothes I was lost in bed 

like it is our purpose not to find desired things 

like everywhere the casement is pressing 

A new way to kill the brain 

I need to get back to cataloguing 

such regular, non-repeating patterns 

a link in a dark chain, so loud to blue 

To be “brought to light,” reissued to the present 

Rigid still he saw me 

through the wasps at the VA hospital 

My mother brushing his teeth 

I knew better, knew geared to regroup 

Now I dream of people so alive to swell 

Forgetting is a heavy pigment, apples filling the body 


The house being empty, I never stop looking 

would be an impulse to disappear 

thigh by thigh, a downward choosing 

framed and having survived 

and no one else





Dupuytren's Contracture 


Genetic disease is in our teeth.

It sparkles in ribbons and knocks us, blindly, over. 

It begins a new day for the carriage drivers.

They hand us baby girls to apologize to, and we do.

They drive around and around in circles,

sifting the early morning into animal powder.

They are the whitest.

Day after day absorbs from us. Soon we’ll see it all

and disappear. And there is no word for it.

The fizzling afterlife. Don’t tell anyone,

but the devil dreams in parallel lines.

Another baby with my skin lives in the house.

I keep keeping quiet so you’d think my heart was tough.

Let’s talk about the open handfuls of furniture.

Let’s dust for photons and send them flying.  

This is the last time someone will say our names.




Glass Eye Poem


Bones are bones

and eyes are replaceable

The sea otters have hands for you

you for the night awake


The unbelievably sheer chance

A long wash missed out on

when I heard you sing on the radio

An uphill glowing Amazon


mostly if not all muscle

you said my teeth are banded

so my jaw always aches


you knitted the smallest

yarn babies

in a seahorse pouch

matted with shampoo

Natural battle feelings

sconces on hedges

your head one-third shaved


a piggy-bank

It needs to be the most beautiful

eye in the world

to match you


At the airport

your mouth is Jupiter

Them as we are

I mail a package of bird seed and amaranth

They would hope inside of you

I am building your room 

your stomach

with nothing but rubber bands

Half-lit in the desert,

see: pale morning bones


Vowels mark cold spots

in the sky

I want to build you

something archaic

so that in profile it blooms.


I have a medium-sized (12 in tall?) wooden statuette of a smiling Buddha with his hands raised that was in my grandparents' house in Ridgeway, SC, on a little table right in front of you when you walk in the front door. We sold the house after my grandfather died and my grandmother went into a nursing home. Right before it changed hands I was allowed to run through the house one more time to grab anything left over that I needed/wanted. I grabbed a lot of things, and among them was this Buddha. Now he goes with me everywhere I've ever moved--the tradition has become that he is the first thing that gets placed in a new house, and the last thing to be taken out. 


Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press 2014) 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 appears or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, They Will Sew the Blue Sail, Columbia Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Guernica, and others. She is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine lives, writes, and teaches in Athens, GA.