ROSS THOMPSON

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

Honeysuckle

You read somewhere that you could snap
a honeysuckle flower from the vine,
tear it in two, and taste nectar beading
on the lip of the exposed wound.

You sprinted to the garden, where you found
a bush thrumming with hummingbirds,
and weighted with vibrant purple blooms,
but when you tried to conjure sugar

onto your tongue, you could not taste honey.
You were left with the bitter tang of pollen
and a handful of broken corollas.
Another time, you held a tropical conch

against your ear, hoping to hear the voice
of choristers washing in and out
of the aperture. But as the shell’s mouth kissed
your cheek, you could not hear the sea.

Words For Snow

crystal, needle, bullet, column, plane, rime,
spearhead, sector, sheath, polycrystalline,

prism, dendrite, hail, gohei, skeletal,
graupel, seagull, particle, gabriel,

diamonddust, stellar, fern, burst, confetti,
lilyglove, chillykiss, mogul, quinzhee,

onding, ninguid, kriplyana, harebloom,
featherleaf, frostbreath, hootlin, heavenboon,

daintyrain, thistlegift, lighterdown, skift,
winterteeth, pennychime, inchinghome, drift,

whitecloudsong, whimsy, mooncurtain, hatpin,
skydoodle, softloop, brieftreasure, sequin,

airghost, almondhope, godpromise, violin,
comfort, eveningcrisp, sleepwillow, silence.

Pareidolia

Funny how the mind, when still and idle,
drifts on a current of its own design,
returning to the familiar island
you never quite left but instead consigned

to somewhere between Patagonia
and Timbuktu. When you were much younger,
and hoodwinked by love and myopia,
you sought her face in ink blots and summer

clouds, or the way a seabird might angle
its wing. Though her eyes appeared clear and kind,
they were merely droplets shining on leaves,

or the breeze brushing through sharp brambles.
A candle in the dark, the flame twined
around the wick too tight to be uncleaved.

Ross Thompson is a writer from Bangor, Northern Ireland. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in various publications and online magazines. He recorded three pieces for Happy Holidays, an album by The Grand Gestures, a collective of Scottish musicians and artists. Most recently, Ross was shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney New Writing Award, placed joint runner-up in the Mairtín Crawford Award, and read ‘The Slipping Forecast’ on the BBC for The Arts Show. He was also commissioned by NI Screen to write a poetic sequence for the Coast To Coast project.

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