Palinode

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GALE MARIE THOMPSON

 
 

Already you’re forgetting. How even

the thirsty dirt in your hair swelled.

How very little rippled beneath, liver

bell-wet and filled to the brim.

Already you’ve swallowed the before—

drawn circles around narratives

to step into and call finished. Too many pills,

a drilling of refusal in a body

of spillage and waste. What you remember

is too liquid to tell—you’ve wormed

her out of your circulation, pulled her

waste from name. You’re in the back

of a car and you lob her like mortar.

You let yourself harm. You tried

to write into her skin, but the fat made it

impossible. What unsaid and swallowed

turned scrim, scrimshaw, yellowed ivory

from thirst and dry heat, dry heave.

Do you hear that? You had no other animal.

As a girl they made you eat fried clams

until you were sick in the dirt, and it pushed

and pressed against the waistband

of your skirt, the clams and the sickness.

This is only a satellite story. Still the need

to watch through a split screen, one small

drown at a time. Still the sickening of

saline, ready and lined like a band of blisters.

I am not allowed these testaments.

For a pardon to pardon it must be spoken

out loud. Do you hear that?

You were an empty belly in the woods.

You had no other animal.