A review by Elaine Palencia

Bullets and Blank Bibles (Austin TX: Liquid Paper Press). c2013

This is Thompson’s first collection and a finalist in the 2012 chapbook contest of Liquid Paper Press, which also publishes the excellent journal Nerve Cowboy.  The touch is delicate in these “letters” from a changing rural landscape set free from fences but often sadly repurposed, as in “Future Home of the Mammoth Mega-Church” and “Wild Violets” (“Soon the wheat fields/will be covered in concrete.”)  Thompson’s patient attention finds lessons in the losses of our common, everyday experiences:  road kill (“We pretend no one is counting the days/quickening/on a merciful wind”), the changing seasons (“The Shovel” and its wheelbarrow full of darkness), in illness (“How to Grieve in Winter”), in the tending of graves and in growing up (“Crushed Velvet”).  There is a wise acquiescence to the way things are.  In “Turquoise” she notes, “We measure our life by what we love/but settle for what we are given.”  Rilke hovers like a dark angel over all.  Meanwhile, a married life unfolds quietly in refurbishing and taking possession of an old house (“What Holds Us Up” and “Inkblot (married sleep).”  Some poems swell with emotion held in check (“A Morning in Spring.”)  Some simply take wing and sweep us up and away (“Parting the Crows.”)  Time is passing, they all say, but stay-stay-long enough to remember.  “For something taken, something must be given.”  What Thompson offers in place of loss are these beautiful poems.

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