Tom Thompson

The Virgin's Got Her Bachelors, Even

A girl is error's last peak. A nicked bit of Thank you, Jesus
you have no right to relinquish. The plastic fissure

down her left side coagulates like privacy.
What have you done? Feeling licks its claws too early to take bets.

Graphic constellations of decay decorate her wax-white gown,
spattered blood or shattered insect bits mark a loose trail—

strewn evidence of a snapped path you've got half a mind to.
Gangly dahlias pause, lean in prayer

toward the half shrug her shoulder suggests and then
takes back. Tomorrow a bride will rise

exactly toward you. But first take this girl's shriveled twist, her baby cord
reliquary, the pink box

promissory in its glittering sequins. Consider its ways
fixed to the shifting air.

A high-tension wire slices overhead into wind and wind
while paternal clouds retract for safety hooks.

A girl dreams in blank, liquid halls, with boot-whacked particle board
underfoot. On evidence:

clear plastic wrappers for fire-resistant flowers that rest
in her cupped palm. Or how one raised finger

suggests a filigreed branch, hooks a china mug
swinging to her ear. The swing says

"she, she." She saw. And she obliges:
facing Never, unbuttoning her coat, oblivious, tight.

Let's realign her silks with the fan. Let the fan issue her
a new straw lair.

Tumble back, claw. You puppet about her visible shape.
Train midnight on duskier engines, OK? Retract

to what you want someone to see. A caw
traces her contents. Fills in.

A brief reprieve
from the work. A girl's nostrils alight

at the hole she saw in you. She wouldn't,
astonishes. She tries it.



© 2002 Electronic Poetry Review