At night this quiet covers me,
grown ragged on the center seam,
dividing all this history.
I touch the patches always known,
the ones they wrapped me in, passed down
for far too long for anyone
to still remember what was cut,
that it was once a blouse, a skirt
she wore the night he took her heart.
I touch the fields I thought I knew
and smooth the places healed into
each other, at the ridges sewn
with careful secrets mouthed for all
the years she couldn’t tell a soul.
—From Light Enough (Albany Records, 2018); appears here with
poet’s permission. An earlier version of this poem appears in her book
Echolocations (Story Line Press, 2000).
is the author of ten books of poetry and nonfiction, including Echolocations and Resistance Fantasies. Her new book of poetry, Questions from Outer Space, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Thiel’s work has appeared in many journals, including Poetry, The Hudson Review, Rattle, and the Sewanee Review, and is re-printed in more than sixty major anthologies. Her awards include a PEN award, the Robinson Jeffers Award, the Robert Frost Award, the Nicholas Roerich Award, and an NEA Award, and she was a Fulbright Scholar.
Thiel received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brown University and is Professor of English and Associate Chair at the University of New Mexico. She has traveled and lived in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, working on literary and environmental projects.
More information, including readings and lectures, may be found at her website:
by Diane Thiel, first published in Best American Poetry 1999 and reprinted
numerous times, including in KYSO Flash (Issue 6, Fall 2016)