On Some Excuses For Feeling Pierced By Existence

by Jay Aquinas Thompson

Ordinary: she was
ordinary in her birdy
& that
grownup oversteeped
bitterness seeping in-
to every story: in this
photo she
oh wows an immense
chrysalis-pale maple
leaf I lift to her heart-height
in some spring city forest
(both of us in Izod & fat
80s crosstrainers) (I’m
maybe eight):
      & in
my boyish open eagerness
& the teary serious faraway
look she gives the leaf—
like it’s a parchment
whose old-long-since
wisdom the world
will soon shit on or
like it’s a touch from
God none but she & I
have nerves spun fine
enough to
feel—I’ve told
a whole story:
two-decades story: an
story about her
grasping love: her
carnivore craving for a
comfort that could
never last: I’ve spent a
long time
  but look at her!:
a plain sad lady aged
like plenty of us
before age by
rum & loveless
leaders & nightsticks &
new sisters who’d
always let her down:
no different
from most of us: no
different really
from her ordinary
sad boy
into mid-
dle age: no monster:
nerves in the almond
shiver & it extrudes
makeupy blossoms:
last year’s leaves sizzle
& sigh into the soil they feed
& trees that don’t flex die:
dead old ladies abound
in the thawing
ground sure but no
monsters: no

Jay Aquinas Thompson has recent work in FIVES, Passages North, Jubilat, Tammy, COAST | NoCOAST, Full Stop, and Poetry Northwest. They live with their child in Washington state, where they teach creative writing to incarcerated women.