Cure for a Dead Zone by Lynne Thompson

Cure for a Dead Zone

If oceans could eat us, they would surely
like our saltiness, at least at first, and would
have their craving for iron satisfied by our
blood. Only later would oceans cringe at

the taste of our lust, our greed, gluttony
& wrath, our overabundant garlicky stink.
Earth would want to quench its thirst but
oh, what disappointment it would find in

the dead zone that is the Gulf of (pick-a-spot).
But if Earth could be inspired to eat itself—
humanoids first, then the trees, the lakes,
the mountains, the arid spaces, the llama,

cat, hummingbird, gnat, the undeveloped
lands & what we have developed: buildings,
roads, dumps filled with syringes, our books
(Earth would love J. Milton, T. Morrison)

then do what we do: down that meal, swallow
it whole or gnaw it beyond recognition, digest,
then puke the potluck from our deepest depths
as waste to be disposed of and then, start over.


Los Angeles Poet Laureate Lynne Thompson

In 2021, Lynne Thompson was appointed Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles. She is the author of Start With a Small Guitar and Beg No Pardon, winner of the Perugia Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award. Her manuscript, Fretwork, won the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize in 2019. Her recent work appears in New York Quarterly, New England Review, Pleiades, Black Warrior Review and the 2020 Best American Poetry anthology, among other publications.

Photo: “And The City Below,” Benjamin Disinger, courtesy of Flickr