Julia Thacker

Two poems from Julia Thacker’s All the Flowers Are for Me

followed by a note on the author

Braid Him into the Earth

Knee-high coffin of wicker, earth-boat floating through the woods.
Wrap him in heather, the old way. Hold a pocket mirror under his nose.
Say of him what we say of fathers.

If one of you has a three-string, then a tune.
Boots, stamp away spirits. If the ground is frozen,
dig shallow, spade ringing through ice, shale, mica-shine.

Lower the basket in a tangle of ginseng root, because I can’t.
Let well water seep into crevices, mineral, like nickels
on the tongue. Skin freckling in feldspar, beetle, slug.

If flood waters drift the body loose, let him not be found by a child.
Let bones wash up with clay pipes, beads, thumb-size skulls.
Let them whiten and scatter in blond fields.



God Denies Any Knowledge of Dead Angel in His Bed

He searches Heaven’s cabinets for a hangover cure.
Combs knotted stars from his beard.
Sets the morning agenda. To the blind shepherd
he dictates a note: The wind is blue.
And what of tsunamis, wars?
Macedonian wells infested with bees?
God has a headache. His hands tremble.
He cannot look at the heap of sheets,
her celestial body, marcelled bob, cold
in his chamber. No one understands
that he is full of duende. Not the swarm of angels,
their platinum regiment rapping
at his windows, rattling doors, voices sharp
and clear, Why? God covers his ears.



Braid Him into the Earth first appeared in Plume; God Denies Any Knowledge of Dead Angel in His Bed first appeared in Southern Humanities Review.

The granddaughter of a Harlan County coal miner, Julia Thacker was raised in Dayton Ohio. She first came to Massachusetts as a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She has also been the recipient of fellowships from The Bunting Institute at Radcliffe (now The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study), the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her poems appear in Bennington Review, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Southern Humanities Review, and The New Republic. A portfolio of her work is included in the 25th anniversary issue of Poetry International. Julia has taught writing at Tufts University, Radcliffe Seminars and as Poet-in-Residence in public schools throughout the state. In 2024, she was an Edith Wharton Writer-in-Residence at The Mount in Lenox. She lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.