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Poems by Tom Thompson
Crowds Surround Us
Essays by Tom Thompson
The State of the Preface Address: on Wordsworth and Common Speech
Related Poems
Poem In Which Words Have Been Left Out
by Charles Jensen
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A fillip. A fandango.

by Tom Thompson

The police set about their work so tenderly! Like dolls built to simulate laughter. 
Like bells, they watch the space between themselves, not us. Its milky white. 

Their whos and wherefores have been smudged for our enchantment.  Once-upon-
their-bodies steamed good and stiff right into those ruffled blackcoats. 

And thatís how we like them, flushed, immobile to our bootless haste,
to the loose cargo drifting by—
                               calliope of tin and cash dashing asphalt.

We like each pistolís toy piano ping, how it signals adjustments to temperature,
alters by degrees our own satisfactions, pin by pin,

a sound to rejoice in, as the police rejoice, without moving your lips or eyelids. 
The held sigh of a nebula, swelling. How we envy 

the buckles that clasp back at them. Their radios, looser, lean into the white air—
thumbed postcoitally, mindful, yet distracted. Their leather straps have been 
lathered and scraped and are lathered again by fogís fur-based intelligence, 

that we wrap about our shoulders, that a splatter of ice-mud clings to. Their laces 
are latched 

to thread-holes as they themselves are latched to this morning, bent, raffiné with
frost. Imagine, their bodies a drum collecting us like steady beads in a dream!
And us as fervent, our flesh pink with flaps. 

First published in The Hat. Copyright © Tom Thompson. Used with permission of the author.
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