Poetry by Jay Aquinas Thompson

Image by Emily Jay / emily-jay.com

From “Like Honey”


3: Blue Spruces Heave

my muse says that contrary predicates imply each other: person as originator person as originated / the match burned my fingers / more like this hot witch I know at Lottie’s last night bumping into the Moon & buying her a drink asking her sign / looking good baby like catching an echo with a flashlight down the flaring chestnut median / like rinsing the clouds from the sky Lord October learning the maple’s menstrual rhythms I am not worthy with no things but in ideas / barefoot that you should enter enough for a life of small good loves under my roof like I eat cold chicken in the dark but only like finding an unseasonable weed in my ear say the word through a bunchy bouquet megaphone & my soul like salvaged thunder shall be drinking me in like intercourse healed but more like counting the rays of sun my flesh blocks / counting how many eras a single limb of Andrea’s wisteria splits / Venus only ever rises in the west right? / it’s not always in me to recognize as holy those who shade the meanings who doubt who invite certain subtleties in / everlastingly current / for instance: it turns out those stunned & thirsty ghosts among the mown lawn are not truly dead rather G. explains they’re how we frail living relate to certain of our human sorrows / don’t love astrology / there’s nothing in us any matrix of stone & sweet fire would stir toward job success or fortuitous sex / the constellations are like Christ: a pattern of cold space & collapsing flame that flies thoughtlessly apart the moment we turn our heads the moment we change worlds / time is changeless: stuff streams by out eyes’ windows & things fall away & we call time change / but it’s only stuff changing: stuff in time / time itself lordly & singular stirs for nobody no hour starves itself for my infected desire / I use only plant names I’m sure of— Andrea’s wisteria was no late-season lilac— but I really don’t know most names / on a walk it’s mostly a seething nearness of detail & green rather than memory / explaining the rising smell of crushed fir needles like a burning boat explaining Mary to her poor banished children explaining fire at the lash’s fringe explaining insomnia & her children explaining the blue crescent warming the kettle explaining the cloud’s drowse into 3 o’clock twilight explaining anguish tamped down explaining the loose thread of waking body trailing behind through some numb underground hum I feel a love poem starting through my fault through my fault through my most grievous rumor of flesh & blue bone don’t you bless me? / through my old-fashioned words & muscles & my damaged unspeakable manners? / I love the rough alive at-home-ness of your skin its scars & lacks its moles & minute motions / one day I hope to know fully as I am fully known / the moon mattering to the battered plum / some bare tight-barked deciduous thing latticing the blue sky lightens later leafmolds in the park’s bestial byways / the cotton you run your warm legs through crackles & you flower unseasonably out in- to my mouth / noise of walnut hulls windblown up the street / lips wine-stained / ever notice how your night ends but the map that carries you through your night remains straining mind & will toward retrieval? /



Jay Aquinas Thompson is a poet, essayist, and critic with recent or forthcoming work in COAST | NoCOAST, Full Stop, Fog Machine, Sprung Formal, Denver Quarterly, The Stockholm Review of Literature, Berfrois, The Conversant, Kenyon Review Online, and Poetry Northwest, where he’s a contributing editor. He lives with his family in Seattle, where he teaches creative writing to incarcerated women.