“The Choosing,” “Raveled,” and “Last Judgment”

The Choosing

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The Choosing

A halo, a hula hoop, a shroud, a shift the color of a robin’s egg—

we have so many choices, those of us into whose ears

a father poured bile for everything from spilled

pop to skinned knees to forgetting to close

the chimney flue to filling out tax forms

wrong the first year of college.

I choose to adorn my very human waist with a hula hoop.

I choose to rock back & forth, center myself

like Saturn loving his rings, their gaps

& spokes, both bright & somber,

& me laughing like a dark god

seeding his own abundant

fields.

I choose to dress my image of myself in the blue

of cornflower & dart frog & Neptune

& kingfisher back as sun rolls

down his diving form—now

I flash to surface, mouth

full of silver.

I choose to walk away with hummingbirds

at my hips & a fairywren aria on my lips,

sea holly flourishing on my shoulders,

a rock rattlesnake inching up spine,

which has shifted into a strip

of sun, an evolution

of orange.

You have been a vicious father, but remember—

I am now a blue-ringed octopus in my own

right, no desire for conflict, yet I brandish

azure rings, threading enough venom

to kill a grown man while I swim

in a tidal pool of sea star-lit,

barnacled joy.

Raveled

Fly from that house

clad in cotton dress & aviator cap

with its cracked leather—you knew you’d need it

someday.

Ride mistral through

a sky casting its greys over a landscape

brown with mud & blonde with barley spikes

bending.

Sail with barn swallows

rusty-throated & indigo-backed & spelt-

bellied—when they land their wings fold like pointed

capes.

Soar clean away

from that leaning box with its haunted

eyes & brittle porch-teeth threatening to collapse & cut off

your return—

you’ve always known

there are oceans of fields roiling

with brine & froth & pinecone & poppy & clownfish & lovely

unfurling octopi.

This is what you return to—

self singing forked tail into being

rufous notes into crooning & calling day down to sit on your

raveled shoulders.

~inspired by the art of Sinisha S. Kashawelski

Last Judgement

The starlings have fled,

their invasive success

failing them

at last.

Where they have gone

no one knows.

Perhaps they have drifted

upwards into stratosphere

like black balloons

who never knew

how fragile they were.

Polar bears have drowned

seals have drowned

& the once-belligerent

humans now only speak

in two tones—

hushed or screaming.

There is no blaring

of horns, for the forests

have no breath

left.

Our warm egg spins

casting off the last

cool droplets

& us with them.

We join starlings

high above

chatter with them

see that their speckled

coats are the stars

we’ve always

sought.

About the Author

t.m. thomson

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t.m. thomson is co-author of Frame & Mount the Sky (2017), a chapbook of ekphrastic poetry, as well the author as Strum and Lull (2019) and The Profusion (2019). She is a lover of animals, art, trees, surrealism, black and white movies, walking in autumn rains, feeding wild birds in winter, playing in spring mud, & bat-watching in summer. Her first full-length collection of poems, Plunge, comes out in 2023.