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.