Close to Home

The Menlo Park Police Department live-tweets updates
and we find out everything we’ve slept through:
Suicidal subject. Barricaded in home. Shots fired. Avoid area.

Our street’s closed and we can’t leave the house.
As usual, we refresh for the latest, thumbs tapping
their frantic Morse against the general feeling

of helplessness. Yesterday, we drove to the coast
on a whim, it was so nice out, stopping to watch
the harbor seals stretch their giant bodies, sunning

themselves on the rocks like underworked divas,
without a thought that someone somewhere—
in the Craftsman around the corner, for example—

was bowing terribly beneath the gray weight of simply
being alive. On the slow drive back, we found
a roadside winery, where the lady inside knew nothing

at all about the wine she poured. When we asked
about the vineyards, she said, Oh, up there in Napa.
Someplace. You can’t ever really tell where the grapes come from.

Today, we sit inside our cottage and let the news
and almost-news of elsewhere break over us
like waves, like faltering applause, a million glass bottles.

The scandalous emails leaked; the missiles launched;
the Oscar won for thirty seconds; the Oscar revoked,
given to the correct film; the neighbor taken into custody.

Maybe, before, he was right there with the rest of us,
refreshing, refreshing, until eventually he couldn’t
remember why—then couldn’t trust himself anymore.

Anne-Marie Thompson

Anne-Marie Thompson

Anne-Marie Thompson’s poetry collection, Audiation, was selected by Marilyn Nelson for the 2013 Donald Justice Award. New poems and essays are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, 32 Poems, Green Mountains Review, and other journals. She works as a technical writer for a software company and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.
Anne-Marie Thompson

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Author: Anne-Marie Thompson

Anne-Marie Thompson’s poetry collection, Audiation, was selected by Marilyn Nelson for the 2013 Donald Justice Award. New poems and essays are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, 32 Poems, Green Mountains Review, and other journals. She works as a technical writer for a software company and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.