Here are new poems from Melinda Thomsen, a freshly minted MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, but already dazzling and prolific. Melinda Thomsen’s poetry and book reviews have been published or are forthcoming in journals such as Poetry East, Big City Lit, New York Quarterly, Home Planet News, Elysian Fields Quarterly, Alimentum, Heliotrope, and The Same. Anthologies include Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews and Spring from Gatehouse Press, Great Britain. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook Naming Rights in June 2008. These poems are from her next collection, Field Rations, to be published in October 2011.
From Field Rations
Poems by Melinda Thomsen
Suppertime, December 28, 1944
Every night his mind ticked on
at 1:00 AM while she was fixing supper.
Was it like last time? Biscuits, fried chicken
and bean salad they saved from noon.
She’s sculling water through some peas.
He felt cool air running around his hands
and his stomach pressed against the sink.
Movements of her fingers echoed in his.
His tongue moved around on its own
but what was it saying? His hand drifted
up her leg and across her back, over
and over like the touch of butterflies
that seemed to land on her shoulders.
He was kissing her when the pulsing caress
of her lips answered his, was she there?
Was she stopping to close her eyes?
Ohrdruf Concentration Camp, April 13, 1945
The photo is a two
by three inch glossy
that I must get close to,
to see: forty bodies
piled in a shed with lye
over them like crumbs
of cheese on a salad.
Some inmates face
faces, others, soles
of feet. Shaved heads,
ears, noses, rills of fingers
and the little round pads
of toes have settled, framed,
in their final rest, like shoes,
hundreds of well-worn shoes.
—by Melinda Thomsen