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Friday Feature: Lynne Thompson

Lynne Thompson is the current Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles. Her most recent collection of poems, Fretwork, was selected by Jane Hirshfield for the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize and published in 2019. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Thompson is also the author of Beg No Pardon (Perugia Press), winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award, and Start With A Small Guitar (What Books Press). The recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Summer Literary Series (Kenya), and the City of Los Angeles, her work has been widely published and anthologized including in On Becoming A Poet-Essential Information About the Writing Craft, New England Review, Ploughshares, Colorado Review, Pleiades, and Best American Poetry, among others. Thompson serves on the Board of Directors of Cave Canem and the Los Angeles Review of Books and is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at Scripps College. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Among Peaches

I don’t care that I’m old—I still want to fuck

and I don’t mean some old lady “make love”

as though I need a doily to perch my ass on.

I want to fuck with fury and sweat rolling down

the legs of us both, the mixture an emollient for

brittle bones. And if my love-dog is old as I am,

I don’t want him to show it or to complain or

to say we have to wait for the Viagra to kick in,

for desire to erect his nipples. I want him to be

struck by a sudden urge (if I haven’t been struck

first) then take me in the stock room of Pavilion’s

Market. I want to be so surprised that when I

reach out, I bring down a whole crate of peaches.

I want to bite his lip to keep him from screaming

his pleasure upon seeing my salt-and-pepper nest.

I want him to drink the Joy I’ve daubed on just

below both my breasts just in case and I want him

to let me put my mouth everywhere and do what

I declined to do in my youth—& twice. I need a

nocturne to turn me around, that won’t turn me

loose, to bring me to the hard edge. And when

the stock-boy comes upon us, his arms full with

boxes—the latest shipment of sweet fruit—when

he can’t decide if he wants to take photos to post

on Instagram or to run away in terror, I want to

tell him: pray you get this lucky in years that will

simply slip off & bruise you the way peaches bruise.

Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Colleen J. McElroy, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.


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