3 poems by Christina Thatcher

    What’s Left

    When we meet, it’s through glass:

    each time reminiscing

    about our rickety bunkbeds,

    escaped painted turtles,

    the knockdown drag-outs

    no one cared to stop.

    When I leave he writes letters—

    yellow paper with birds and hearts

    and my name in a font he made

    just for me. Sometimes,

    I pull out each letter to re-read

    what he’s had for dinner,

    which books he’s finished,

    how many push-ups he’s done,

    and remind myself to persist: we are

    smokejumpers, survivors.

    What If

    What if you pop a vein?

    What if you pick up another

    dirty needle, launch a blood clot

    straight to your heart?

    What if you crash your car

    again—or worse, the Harley

    Dad left you—turn it

    to scrap metal?

    What if you stop breathing

    on another sticky floor or under

    the Kensington Bridge,

    the lawless land.

    What if you forget the fires we’ve seen,

    how we fought them, and I am left

    here to remember it all

    on my own?

    How To Carry Fire

    Conjure every fire you have ever read about—

    London’s gutting, Brisbane’s breadless

    factory, Boston’s burning. Remember

    your aching home, the leftovers

    of your childhood journals flaking

    in the hot shell of your bedroom.

    Bring these to a furnace at the front, stoke

    with the poker your father pressed into

    your mother’s neck. Take what those flames

    can give you. Feel heat enter your stomach.

    Stay wary now. You must never let the light

    go out. Keep it lit until you learn to glow.


    Christina Thatcher is a Creative Writing Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Her work has featured in over 40 publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, The Interpreter’s House and more. Her first collection, More than you were, was published by Parthian Books in 2017 and her second collection, How To Carry Fire, is forthcoming with the same press in 2020. To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her website: christinathatcher.com or follow her on Twitter @writetoempower.