Benjamin Thomas

Benjamin Thomas is a family man recently relocated to the southeast's new heartthrob, Chattanooga, TN. After an MA in History & Social Thought from New York University, he spent over a decade working in social entrepreneurship ventures and international development before rediscovering people and love.

Stepmother of God

We are halfway past the watermelon stands
in our old car. The car we thought about naming
Magnum because it reminded us of picking
palmetto bugs out of our wine glasses on the porch
at 40th and Barnard Street in Savannah
and because it was a deep burgundy.
Two more blocks gone and we’re off again
past the watermelon stands and a haphazard row
of Crape Myrtles, the Bland Store (still closed down),
a late crowd leaving a Pentecostal church.

Now we’re back at a friend’s house we’ve been living in
for two months and my hand is twirling around
a wooden box. A box I’ve carried with me
everywhere, a box I touch as if its been sanded
even though it hasn’t been and yellow and brown
portions of weak wood stick out from it in abandonment
and fear. This is the box I judge myself against. The box
I smooth, splinter side down, while you are sleeping.
It’s the wooden box I find, even when it’s not around,
that reminds me of when my body is tired;
the sound that’s made when a head hits a wall.

Today I’ve opened it. The treasures are always different.
But today it is you again. The non-starter, the behemoth
I’ve forgotten to classify. Upon opening the box
I enter into the cadence of my friend, the stranger.
The soul quits throwing itself against the inside
of the body, and for a moment it chants my regrets
to the clasp that unlatches it from underneath
to the clasp that tries to hold it down.

You are waking up now. I’m sitting by the open window.
There’s a magnolia tree so close I could touch its blossom
if I lean just past my knees. “What are you
doing?” you ask. “Nothing,” I say. And with the close of the box,
nothing becomes the space I give you for loss
and for hiding.

photo by: Bitterroot