In the Catacombs

Fibulas, hips, patellae, ribs: a body’s glossary in the catacombs.
The Parisians dance and party in the ossuary, in the catacombs.

Don’t worry, these bones have been blessed, a lover says lifting my dress.
I had asked: are we acting sacrilegiously in the catacombs?

A handwritten note rests eternally on my grandfather’s chest.
Is there a wisp of paper in the repository, in the catacombs?

What do ghosts yearn for, having already smelled cool, wet earth?
Can the fluctuations of rain be heard, possibly in the catacombs?

Once, on a night train, Marjorie rode without love, not heeding Hórace:
Believe that each day is for you the last—words engraved in the catacombs.


Bayside, Low Tide

The moon couldn’t help herself, playful day and night, this, she
whispers, is low tide.
She teases, withholds swirls of sea; shells rejoice in their nakedness
at low tide.

I’ve been kicking small puddles—sounds that compete with all other luxuries
I’ve coveted or released. Lights of bright green seaweed greet me at low tide.

I’m witness: not to resistance but perseverance among hermit crabs, tadpoles,
snails, mussels; dead or alive like all creatures, closer to our eyes
at low tide.

Years later I remember a small fox on the beach the way I remember you; through
sensation, damp sand, eccentric variations on red-gold, gifts given
only by low tide.

Marjorie, you’re like a small boat at the mercy of the moon: riveted or moving.
Sides athirst, hot, lively painted; everyone sees all of me, when the
tide’s low.



Marjorie Thomsen enjoys the practice of writing Ghazals and the abundance of love and longing that inspires them. Her poems have received awards from the New England Poetry Club and The University of Iowa School of Social Work. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of Pretty Things Please (Turning Point, 2016). She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.