Thursday, June 23, 2022




My friend said, “Take this,

it’s more you than me. My boss

brought it back from Italy.”

“Little Italy,” I said. “It’s just

a version of Fendi.” Offended,

she left. If perfumeries, in their

flimflammery can depose attar of rose

to mere coal tar perversion, why not

“Inversion of Fendi?” Instead of attracting,


this perfume could repel, excite

if only for the length of a smell

with the option to create one’s own world,

to corrupt a perfume which once could be counted on

to deliver essence of lily to my earlobe

and a man to my feet,


when I still wanted that. And why should I when

the real essence of our time together isn’t love

but approximation brought on

by proximity, by shared toothbrush holders,

pajama bottoms, colognes, a belabored labor

of clasps and gasps and orange juice

spiked with disinterest.


So maybe I go shopping. Maybe the scent draws

me in to someone else’s funeral where I find

Lily, rich and falling over

in bloom. Maybe I doubted her existence,

essence not aroma but supine elegance

created solely to disturb my equilibrium.


But am I kidding myself? Initially, bouquets

were placed at head and feet so you could approach

the corpse without gagging. Corpses

don’t stink these days, but banks

of flowers scream, “Dead person ahead!”

And it’s my life which smells

of embalming fluid until I sense

the real essence of flowers, and at a kneeling rail

for supplicants like me, I discover what happens


to those who want only to worship her

cascades of bloom, not the rot

in the casket, not here where they are tucked

and trussed so tightly in imposed bouquets

there is no room for individuality,

and even her colors run together and are stained

with that vein of purple blood which links

us all to each other, where artistic impulse ends

in the grave, a pool of mud where someone

other than us is bent


on tidy categories, strings of delineation

that keep flowers and women nameless and aromatic.

I want to say I cut her free, but she was cut

anyway and no one could touch her essence. I want to say

I drove out that night, leaving you, and now my own life

lures me along new high ways and solitary lanes

where untidiness is all I speak of,

defending Fendi herself.


©2021 Muriel Thumm


Thursday, March 31, 2022

I Want a Room


I want a room I've never entered before

A pen I've never held

Blank paper

Bare chair

I'll sign a confession, but my stipulation?

I write the body of the confession

I'll confess to everything that I have ever done

I'll confess to things I wish I had done

I'll confess to things I never would have done

I'll confess to the blackest thing you can think of

in your my heart

Well, I didn't exactly do this blackest thing

but the Bible says thinking about doing it

is as bad as doing it, doesn't leave any margin

Oh, let me confess in a bare room

with a pen of no nomenclature

a quill even

on a steady piece of paper

and in a firm hand


© 2019 Muriel Thumm

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Maybe in the morning


Maybe in the morning

                       with trees against clouds

my headache will be gone

                       like thin boundaries of time

Maybe in the morning

                       so easy the slip

he’ll come for me again

                       into the frame of my life

Maybe in that morning

                       in my life I’ll see them

when he’s no longer here

                       in my own space, but

Maybe in some morning

                       with membranes against the sky

I’ll see rainbows in the trees

                       leaves eaten by worms.


© 2022 Muriel Thumm

Monday, November 1, 2021

Our Low-Tide Romance


We never invested in it, you and I

so it never did go any further. Miles apart now,

but no further apart than we were,

we, who never gave it a nickel’s worth of passion,

maybe an arm around the shoulders on Carson’s Beach

where you shared your jacket as we leaned up against

that tree and I could paint a picture like that,

but it still seems like there’s not enough paint to cover it

all in sepia.  Did you feel it, too? The non-feeling

and then, standing up once more, we felt the wind

in our faces, my hair blew into your teeth

finally giving up for something better –

him, her – not you, not me. 

Skirt flying straight back, molding my legs

but the wind had the only passion –

when it blew past, there was no heat exchange,

just bold breeze looking for a cheek to stroke,

but passing so quickly, it had no time

to feel the coldness of the moment,

the catch and caw of the crow over the sands

not even a phrase that would catch a passerby

and make him strain for the rest

we were far beyond anything a seashell would listen to,

harbor, and pass on next year to another on the beach,

plunging her feet in the sand until

the moist undersand cooled the pads of her feet

like the bottom of a well is always cool,

even in a dry season, the memory of water remains

and will my memory of you remain

or did it go off with that wind?


Copyright 2016 Muriel Thumm


Friday, October 15, 2021




(or What’s in a Name?)


He climbed down the bank

alongside the canal

to cut some bittersweet

with his penknife

for me


We in our sixties and dare I say

bittersweet years? Diabetes

taxing his heart

Me, devising meals for a diabetic


He braves the bank

slippery from rain

and carries as many gnarly twigs

as he can in one arm

reserving one arm for climbing

back over the railing


A brier I love for its colors,

slight disclosure of its red berry,

(The way our passion is muted

and kept under wraps)

as much as for its name –



Out of favor with gardeners

moving in and strangling

their favored plantings

bittersweet seems to find pleasure

in pleasing him pleasing me


©2019 Muriel Thumm

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A Poem with a Hole in it



My brother at 14 sat

on the kitchen stool

stock between his knees

played with the trigger

and put a hole in the ceiling


When he was 18

and in the Army in Germany,

the house burned down

around that hole


The hole didn’t burn


It’s all I have left

of that childhood home


a hole


©2021 Muriel Thumm

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Sharp Edges

She was a girl
who knew what she wanted
Had a knack for getting it, too
She was a girl you’d take fishing


    My friend said, “Take this, it’s more you than me. My boss brought it back from Italy.” “Little Italy,” I said. “It’s just a v...