Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

Void Poses

by Gale Marie Thompson

“—the dead bodies stacked up like cordwood—”
                                              —Ken Burns, The War


Can you see enough     to bury
what look like  stacks of cordwood 

who they put into the hefty ground

I put these things away say please, just let me watch my movie
say       oh, let’s continue  with this scene
as they drag something I can’t see        clean away 

I can’t seem to find a look       that is reciprocal
men who push             their crying into the camera

(“We never say, a rigid stone or rigid iron, nor do we say, rigid ice; but we say,
an animal body or limb, when cold, is rigid. Rigid is then opposed to flexible,
but expresses less than inflexible.”)

This much has been given to me
this keeping of company a                   wintering
so deep in the ground
how and when             we become models
for monuments                        in the eternal struggle
                                                                     against matter

 I want to resist this      my own completed form
Every sign I read clearest                                 and begin again
                                                      if I don’t

A chill rushes through my teeth           and the pain 

comes              unanswered, answering
loop of disquiet of
                             bodies tossed plaque
on the tv screen
something slighter
than memory
so quickly        the turnaround

Cans lined up on the screen
to what end

looking at

what signal

Gale Marie Thompson is the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press, 2015) and Helen or My Hunger (YesYes Books, 2020). She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Her work appears in American Poetry Review, Tin House Online, Gulf Coast, Guernica, and Bennington Review, among others. She is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine, and she lives, writes, and teaches in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can find her on Twitter as @thegalester.

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