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Sarah Thompson

cellular differentiation 1: “red light”






the you I clothe pinned in the doorway

fleet tongue (          ) emerging out of repetition

where that which is required (             ) circles

I near an offering (                             ) to narrate





I begin to learn the language (            )

I have nothing to say 

passion flower’s thread-teeth

(           ) requiring repetition

(                   ) of a broken (                  )



I wash your face with mine

your wet clothes clung

in language I subdue

(       ) beloved, an offering

a light-eaten apple or a blurry mother

say, (           ) an anti-mirror in the sky




disavowal falling from thick of your mouth

with each new mirror I divine

an approach that doesn’t disfigure

you, strange one, shipped from each dawn

each crown of bloodlet and split

cellular differentiation 5: “only love I allow”






the only love I allow wheezes through two windows

a lie plays the stained glass against the dumb wall

the light almost a touch precludes a fuck

almost constant as a factory spilling shit into the sea

without creating anything

we’ve returned to expectations like one body equals one








I trust my body to know how to die

region that lies between rivers and a desert

I don’t trust an empire to die

all that lies between windows

everything (                  ) warps everything

between mute and mutter (          ) an olive


here, I abandon children I’ve never had

and am drawn lengthwise along a loom

this is called a tryst (               ) a lie

all a lie has (                 )

a bed or a bank makes it a prayer

preparation of or in dirt and of or in linen

(               ) relies on metaphor


those barren will (          ) swelter and swill

from green blue riparian flora

official forfeiture of (           ) the future

starves like a needle for thread

for ray for spectacle

thumb the oil eat the olive

hands, pancreas, or calf of leg

a mortal mirror or as a mirror

one without price, I can only get to you,

(                        )

through delirium


you stir in the wet, red light in which language floats

the you I say sticks to the threshold

where what is required is transaction

I approach passivity (                      ) thicken

aim to perceive by scent

follow by footprint

lit ships float by on a river

(                                               )

thickening membrane



I pay to be near you

corona of filaments (         ) nether fact

seethes a gate (                   )

I salt anything to know




I seek (                )

suspicious of beauty and (       )

tragedy says shut-up (       ) flower

or face conceives a door, makes their case

offers to take the fall





there is always a way back always a door

do not mistake (                       ) for wisdom






only love bends place into praise

refracts (          )  an eye of wind uproots

where it gazes, perform destruction and applaud

like shutters in a storm (            ) however

production can never precede

what do we expect of a body an (            )

amber gullet from a slack sea




here in the center of empire

where you cast praise there grows oil-swilling

plants like an (                        ) augur

amber at the corners of the mouth or (         )

glass and mute (                ) point of

the needle can never precede (             )

that specific and radial


my gaze holds a plank between us

holds unction until full

this is a lie (           ) eat the oil

thumb in an olive (         ) spectacle

swelt or (        ) sweet make (       ) ready

knead into ridge and furrow

mortal sweet-bread

hands a speculum 

(                 ) to contrive

praise out of (              )

Sarah Thompson poems

Sarah Thompson lives, writes, and teaches English to high school students in Denver. She earned an MFA from University of Colorado, Boulder. Her translations from the Romanian of poems by Ruxandra Novac have appeared in Asymptote and are forthcoming in Duende.

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