The Naming



the morning you look out the window

at the frozen pond                  and you

cannot remember the word            for


and you cannot think of it    no matter

how long you stare

you begin                           the naming

you say                                   out loud

mockingbird          mailbox            sky

but the word that matters      is caught


in the haze          of your           breath

on the cold              gray             glass

where you trace          with a fingertip

letters              of the             alphabet

and you say out loud

                                   drumstick beaters

because of their shape     and you say

                a nesting material for birds

as a clutch    of sallow seeds   escape

those   ragged    dark   brown   heads


Jessica D. Thompson‘s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as Appalachian Heritage, Atlanta Review, Sow’s Ear, and Still: The Journal. Her work has also been published in New Poetry from the Midwest (New American Press), Not Like the Rest of Us: An Anthology of Contemporary Indiana Writers (Indiana Writer’s Center),  and Circe’s Lament: Anthology of Wild Women Poetry (Accents Publishing).  She is the recipient of the 2013 James Baker Hall Memorial Prize in Poetry from New Southerner and the 2014 Kudzu Poetry Prize. Her chapbook Bullets and Blank Bibles is available from Liquid Paper Press.


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