Laura Thompson


I. Red

A snarling dog hitting the end of his chain.
Bullfrogs, the groan of a frozen lake splitting
open. The ache of blood that can't drain, the shard
of wisdom tooth left in. Circles rubbed in carpet,
earlobes in winter, the scratch of saltine
cracker in a spoonful of chili, wine after you swallow,
the shock you almost feel when you lick a battery.
A above middle C at the base of your spine, the ghost
of my heat on polyester after I leave your bed.

II. Blue

The moment between stubbing
your toe and the pain. Broken glass, breath
escaping between a flutist's fingers.
Marbles, hardboiled egg, ice packed
in a horse's hoof, a necklace just put on.
Guinea pig vibrations, pottery wobbling on the wheel.
Eucalyptus, Woolite, sour cream, Chap Stick,
propane, what makes your warm back
not turn away from my cold hands.

III. Indigo

White grapes, thermometers, the grit
inside a clam, sucking a Cool Pop
from its plastic. The ingredient you don't
taste until you leave it out. The breeze of a passing
car, of wet flannel whipping on the line.
Burlap, yucca leaves, the teeth on a computer chip,
kneeling on glass beads. Sage, Neatsfoot oil, woad,
a cracked fluorescent light bulb. Migrating geese,
a spent cartridge falling on cement, aluminum
foil torn from the roll, the noise I make
when I think and the silence you give when I speak.

IV. Orange

The pressure that will almost
straighten a paperclip but never
return it to its shape. Carwashes, gravy
in hospital corridors, a microwave
the day after burnt popcorn.
A flicked lighter, a dog scratching a screen door,
one scissor blade against the other. The difference
between the flesh of a jalapeno and the seeds.
The heat from computers and Christmas
tree lights. The part of a Band-Aid
that stays behind. Why I always
come before you do.

V. Green

Aloe on a burn, oatmeal
on chicken pox, creases of skin
on knuckles, quills on a sleeping
hedgehog. Wind chimes, dripping faucets,
Slinkies, a goldfish leaping from its bowl.
Cool as a wooden conference table, a laminated
library book. Alfalfa pellets, cedar chips, concrete,
film canisters. Where you go when you hear
or smell something I can't.

Laura Thompson earned her MFA from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and is currently enrolled in the PhD program in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati. She is the recipient of the 2012 Jean Chimsky Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in The Tributary, Tiger's Eye, The Guardian, The Fertile Source, and Oysters and Chocolate. She lives in Cincinnati with her tortoise, gecko, axolotl, and hedgehog.

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