Faith Thompson

To Paul

on the last letter of a victim of the AIDS crisis—written to, among others, my father

I think you were a poet, Paul.
You wrote, from your hospital bed,
Of "the new Grim Reaper" you found:
The nurse with the peach fuzz hair.

You wrote from your hospital bed,
Because they would not let you use the telephone.
The nurse with the peach fuzz hair
Strapped on your oxygen mask.

Because they would not let you use the telephone,
You sketched out funny drawings
Of you in your oxygen mask.
This paper was all you had as you lay dying.

You sketched out funny drawings,
Because you were a philosopher,
And this paper was all you had as you lay dying.
You filled it with your odd terms of endearment,

Because you were a philosopher:
"My little mollusk!" "My little mollusk!"
You filled it with your odd terms of endearment
Because it was in you to love with magnificence.

("My little mollusk!" "My little mollusk!")
Here, in the penultimate line of your last letter,
Because it was in you to love with magnificence,
You threatened, fondly, to haunt my father—

Here, in the penultimate line of your very last letter.
Dear, dear man I never met
Who threatened, fondly, to haunt my father,
I am here to tell you that you have.

Dear, dear man. I hope you met—
(I think you were a poet, Paul!)—
A sweeter Reaping than you thought to find.
Please, send word. Tell me that you have.

Harmony, and Counterpoint

On the coast there are cliffs,
          Sheer and sandless and salted.
Sur la plage there are cocktails
          And wavelets rush in.

Concrete and carpet.
Thistle and tulip.
Water and wine.

Women stand buttoned
          And gazing out windows.
Women lay languid
          And bare at the breast.

There is beauty in fasting,
And beauty in feasting.

          Peace! Let each palate
                    Decide for itself.


Faith Thompson is a recent graduate of the MFA program in poetry at Georgia College & State University. Her work has been published in Juxtaprose Magazine, IDK Magazine, and Alba. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and works as a nanny.


Jane Blanchard
Maryann Corbett
Jean L. Kreiling
Libby Maxey
Susan McLean
Amanda Ryan
Jane Scharl
Wendy Sloan
Myrna Stone
Faith Thompson
Cara Valle
Elinor Ann Walker
Doris Watts
Marly Youmans


This issue of Mezzo Cammin is dedicated to its Founder and Managing Editor for 15 years, Dr. Kim Bridgford (1959-2020). [Photo: Marion Ettinger].

The 2020 Poetry by the Sea conference was canceled due to COVID-19. The next conference is planned for May 25-28 2021.

MaryAnn Miller: And now we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, everything I’ve done seems small compared to the suffering happening in our country. Artists have been jammed up by these hard, hard times, unable to work, unable to think or write. Part of the creative life is getting used to fallow periods, expecting them to happen after I have given everything to a project, and the empty time when it’s over. After a terrifying period of fallowness, deeper than I had ever experienced, finally, I had a response to the unbearable sadness. We who remain live through these sad times and say our goodbyes so unwillingly. To those we know, like Kim Bridgford, to those we don’t know, like the millions of Covid-19 patients. I remain terribly sad, but I continue to work.

32 Poems
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