Two poems from Julia Thacker’s The Winter Comb
followed by a note on the author
seams of Ethel’s pocketbook. I My Sin. I Shalimar. I gold clasp. I assemblage. I mess with
the past. I do not lacrosse. Do not ledger. Do not collect rents. I ghost the tails of my father’s
shirts. Catalogue iron-shaped scorch marks. Heels worn to stubs. Chalk-colored shoe polish.
Propeller planes. Lavender tonic for Nervous. I violet river ink blots on post cards. Lick
envelopes so my tongue is glued to the roof of my mouth. I pony express. I do not swim. I do
not ride. Except for human animals. I zydeco. I crackerjack. I have a weakness for the silver
emulsion of mirrors. I oxidize. I rhapsodize. I carnival. And all the fortunes I tell are cloudy
with chance of bruise. None of these ventures are big money makers. I red 78 acetate. I rent
party. I cornbread crumble in buttermilk. My kin picnic in cemeteries so no one gets left out.
Aunt Belle never married. She prefers the cracked bell laughter of strangers. Ring of ash
trees. Now I can’t stop thinking about cat’s eye marbles lodged in the river bottom.
Mayonnaise jar of elderberry tea bleached blonde by the sun. Hot spit of bacon grease.
White dots on my mother’s wrist.
Bigfoot Walks Among Us
We ate ants peeled from bark, a rain of plums
when he rattled the trees. Lumbering. Shackled.
He stripped me and I flew up, a wood moth on birch eyeing the girl below,
her limbs spread five point star. After, he offered jackrabbit on a spit, tinctures.
I covered myself with fir branches. Mostly I was alone.
I gave up counting the days, hair wilding on my legs, arm pits forested.
Gagged on my own sour smell. While he sloshed through creeks
and villages, I crawled along the thick moss floor, picked snow-capped mushrooms,
pigweed, prickly lettuce. Tongue furry, teeth velveted, I learned to suck spearmint.
In snow, he hollowed a deer, laid me inside the carcass.
My dreams tasted of iron; antlers, a crown I wore lit with fire.
Sometimes he took me along miles of hemlock and sequoia.
Evenings, we crouched at wood’s edge, spied the far lights.
Later I was offered a heart-shaped swimming pool for my story.
Did he make you do things? My throat clogged with birdsong. My mind, with leaves.
Curriculum Vitae first appeared in Bennington Review;
Big foot Walks Among Us first appeared in Pleiades
The granddaughter of a Harlan County, Kentucky coal miner, Julia Thacker first came to Massachusetts as a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bennington Review, Gulf Coast Online, The Massachusetts Review, The New Republic and others. Her honors include fellowships from The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Bunting Institute at Radcliffe, The Corporation of Yaddo and The National Endowment for the Arts. She has taught writing in the Radcliffe Seminars and at Tufts University and acted as Poet-in-Residence in public schools throughout Massachusetts.