A RANK, BLEAK DEVOTION
That violence lies in writing is not so far
from the truth. This is the animal I knew before
I started, whose neck I wished to rub my own against.
She brings the word mercy into the field. Her mouth
staggers over the counting, the one and one
and one of bodies soaked in oil. I keep practicing
the problem, To get back at, to get back at,
the letters written a field of black paper, disorder.
In the blue of gathered facts it feels the same:
splattered mouth, bloody bulb of the sign.
I make lists. I peel olives beneath my skin
and push them out of me. I wake up
in the morning and realize that a sex dream
can also be a sexual assault dream. Mercy ― healing ―
these are words I’ve never used in a poem before.
Can I write into her, she whose own wool
touches mine? A blunter way to say: am I a body
who depends on other bodies? A loved posture
can also be a speech act. It can make the same mistakes,
drop into other, spotted islands. I make lists.
This is how it begins. What will seep will seep.
Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press, 2015) and two chapbooks: Expeditions to the Polar Seas (Sixth Finch, 2013) and If You’re a Bear, I’m a Bear (H_NGM_N, 2013). Her work can be found in Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Guernica, bone bouquet, and others. She has worked on the editorial teams of jubilat, Crazyhorse, Slope Editions, and The Georgia Review, and has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she teaches at Grand Valley State University.
Kate Greene holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an MFA from Yale University School of Art. During her graduate studies at Yale, she worked as a Museum Educator at the Yale University Art Gallery and went on to serve as Assistant Curator of Public Education. She has been a guest critic and lecturer at various institutions such as Bard College, Wesleyan University, Amherst College, Drew University, Lesley University College of Art and Design, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited at galleries, museums, and festivals both nationally and internationally. ROMAN NVMERALS published a limited edition book of her series Pyrotechnics in the fall of 2016. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine.