Sunday Jul 14

DooleyThomas Thomas Dooley is the author of Trespass, a winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by poet and novelist Charlie Smith. His poetry has been published by The Academy of American Poets, Poetry Daily, The Cortland Review, Palimpsest: Yale Literary and Arts Magazine, and twice-featured on “PBS NewsHour.” He has garnered fellowships from New York University, The Jentel Foundation, and The Starlight Foundation, and is the creator of SURGE, a literary magazine that exclusively publishes art and poetry by hospitalized teenagers. Thomas is the Founding Artistic Director of Emotive Fruition, a New York-based reading series of actors and poets whose commissioned work was recently featured on NPR's hit show Radiolab. A member of the creative writing faculty at New York University, Thomas lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY.

Theology of the Body


You found me
in a garden

making small
improvements to

creeping thyme.
No one believed

I could pleach
such a feathery thing.

You ran your fingers
down the slatted pergola

just like they do
in Genesis. Let’s

have a sandwich,
I said. But you

were feasting
on stone fruit.

You told me
your fears when

the sprinklers
set off. Not

of water per se,
but how

it jumps out,
sudden as a snake.

I said I would
walk first

through the foxtrot.

we were naked.
You named the scar,

a small sickle
above my heart,

The Fertile Crescent.
We made a lattice

of our fingers, twined
our legs

in a young cosmos, unafraid
and becoming.


We walked down to where
ocean and sky

two-toned. You
looked up

into the paler blue
and named it

The Vault. In the outdoor
shower we rinsed sand

from our swim trunks
printed with wildebeests.

At church we sang under a fresco
of metallic stars as

congregants tried
to tolerate our fitted chinos

and vibrato. Sunday:
Kiss of Peace

to your lips.
Sunday: your stone fruit

galette. Connubial peach
and plum. Love,

I’m building
a tent on the beach

like the lost tribes did. Let’s rest
within its quiver. Vault

of canvas to have
and hold us.


For a while they kept imagining a life
together, but became birds leaving

in two directions—
one south-gliding,

one late in winter
hurtling towards leafless arms.


Get some ice Turn the ceiling fan on Terrible
heat outside The rainy season Shake my slippers
of scorpions The ashtray needs
to be scraped Finish the crossword The duvet cover
should be stripped Call Mona The aspic is John’s
favorite I think it’s ENSNARE at 67 down The cufflinks
by the sink Don’t forget the top lock The evening
paper drop off The wine can breathe I’ll
be back to get the laundered No wait
it’s ENSNARL Come to think of it

Ballad of a Seeker

His father painted interiors in eggshells and satins,
studded upholstery with tacks, stretched

hide the sheen of apple skins over new batting.
They never talked about mother. The son would dream

of Asia, would string cardamom pods along a valance
and drifted at the kitchen table. He would imagine

quick ferries, a market with morning light on fish skins
and shells. He’d run lost among the canvas sails, only to glimpse

a ship, could almost see his mother running
away to the water and the water running

to a lost shore, its rocky jowls, a narrow passage, a sliver
through which a few white gulls dive.