NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD Express %26 Inspire Development %26 Publication

Lynne Thompson

Modus Operandi

Daddy’s was a double kiss

motif—forehead, first, then

Mother’s mouth closed

No arms

but no shyness

No hand-holding

or love words


In an old sketch

(they are mid-life, casual)

her hair tumbles gray

his shirt gapes unbuttoned

at its neck They look

frankly at the artist

half-smile all-knowing

less than a penny’s-rim

of space

cleaving them

Rum Love

The way I’ve loved & lost is history all over again. It’s the way my daddy loved

his daddy’s daddy, an old man who would take an every morning stroll across reed-

rich crosscuts to Orange Hill’s great house—rotting, teeming with sugar bees—then [LINE BEGINNING RICH CROSSCUTS ONE LINE]

off to the drying house, to the chicken hutch. A runner, that old man would cradle his

tin cup under one of two rusty spigots, swallow hard, then stroll to the Carib sea. Daddy

watched this religiosity from the time he was thigh-high—in his third, fourth, and fifth

years, until he thought he knew what was was. He waited for his ole gran’pappy to

disappear then got himself down to the coop where the golden hooch was brewed. But

Daddy turned the wrong spigot. For lifetimes after, a rum whiff made him gag. The tale

was different by the time he told it to me, reframing it while trying to pretend he wasn’t

fooled the day he took a hard sip but couldn’t swallow it—couldn’t spit it out, unaware

that while spinning the yarn, Mother was in the next room, pouring him a vial of rum.

E.K. Byrne Pens My Bio, scrawls:

from a basket weave circle

of hair and sleeping fireflies,

she rose: faint blue-horn

entrance rumor

and waxweight

all gatehook and gangplank—

light caught in her mouth,

(rivering-red back talk

sow speech swell of

dark berry water)the no

of the yes ink bled from two thorns

her mind’s upstairs windows blown out—

“E.K. Byrne Pens My Bio, scrawls” is a cento, a mash up of lines from the poems of Elena Karina Byrne in her latest book, Squander.

Lynne Thompson is the author of Start With a Small Guitar and Beg No Pardon, winner of the Perugia Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in Ecotone, Salamander, The Fourth River, African American Review, and Poetry, among others. She received the 2017 Tucson Literary Award for Poetry, the 2016 Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize, and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles. She is Reviews and Essays Editor of Spillway literary journal.

— posted April 2018

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