Poetry-Jill Dalenberg Thompson

Jill Dalenberg Thompson


I have no coffee shop,
no park, no Walden woods.
I've lost inspiration's postal address.

Sometimes I stare at empty paper,
as if the words will appear.

Sometimes I type them
but they can't survive my edits.
Like Easter eggs with two pinholes
in the ends where I blew out the insides -
brightly painted and empty.

Sometimes I seek them
in the air - 
toss of a lilac branch,
fluttering leaf,
slant of sun on a flower.
When I pick up my pen
they are gone.

Something tells me
I'm looking in all the wrong places.

I hid them once 
inside myself,
away from discord 
and disapproval.
I thought I was keeping them safe -
a secret in skin
one thing on the outside
but not on the inside,
trying to be everything
succeeding in being nothing at all.

Now they've disappeared.

Perhaps they ran out
the bottom of my feet
when I wasn't paying attention.

It's easy to blame the place.
I find no beauty here, 
except in trees
and things that do not speak.

I stood yesterday
on the yellow line,
staring at flaking paint
and crumbling asphalt,
wishing a car would come - 
screaming tires,
a last-minute dash,
a rush of adrenaline
telling me I'm still alive.

I waited a long time
but nobody came.
I waited until the clouds
crept over the trees
and it started to rain.
First appeared on Poetry Super Highway, 2014
Mirror, Mirror
All the right parts
in all the wrong places -
Picasso girl in front of a mirror,
rearranging circles 
and spheres, reducing
to two dimensions.

When she has flattened 
herself completely,
she draws an eye
in blue and kohl
a little below her green one.

After the party,
she strips her canvas bare.


Scientists have discovered a modon -
tandem whirlpools, tails entwined,
spiraling madly across the Tasman Sea.

The scientists don't really know
how a modon forms.

A woman puts down her reading
and picks up mascara.


A white-haired woman
in front of a window - 
pane of glass
reflected in glass.
First appeared in Bear River Review, 2018
Water runs down hand-peeled walls
along crevices in and between the logs,
pooling in shining puddles on maple floors.
Whether the tears are mine or the sun's,

I can't tell. We are both headed westward.
In the upstairs lofts beneath the eaves,
dream-children play in the corners
like flickering movies. If

I walk in a room and don't look,
I can see them. After the ritual cleaning,
damp cedar suffuses the air.
I should leave the keys, but they cling

to my fingers. From the lofts, the dream-
children wail. Here they will stay,
locked in rooms I can no longer
enter. Let me un-build this place

log by log, return the cedar to stand
like a forest of bones, let the rain wash
the chink to the river, roll down the hills
and fill in the holes,

replant the bluestem to ripple and sway
like the sea, erasing this feng shui space
until nothing remains but grass and sky
and the wooden flute of the wind.
First appeared in Peninsula Poets, Spring Issue, 2019