Ode to an Ancestor
To think you dreamed me here into this day I wish to suck through a straw. May my words smooth the wrinkled sheet of your back. This humming I’ve known: it’s the dead easing me forth, oars combing mist.
Dreamer: how to thank you— with the bottom of my poems? To imagine all words as neologisms: once, their clumsy flowerings on the tongue.
Has your heart ever skipped a night—the morning blue and too suddenly there? This hum is the engine of the world started without me.
for Roy Veal
four baby birds alone in the high nest of the cherry tree
four little girls in a church [End Page 710]
Samantha Thornhill is an international poet whose work has been featured in Crab Orchard Review, Indiana Review, and Poets & Writers Magazine, among other publications. She teaches poetry at the Juilliard School and also serves as writer-in-residence at the Bronx Academy of Letters. Her young adult novel, Seventeen Seasons, is forthcoming from Penguin/Putnam.