[POEM] today’s run

today’s run

two checks or one check
one check now two checks
I know you have to but it still hurts
I know you want to and that hurts more
she likes feathers so I brought one
a bird leaf from the forest
but it never made it to her hands

these ferns are so thick now
just a month before they were fiddleheads
curled and timid
unsure of their own unfurling
I missed the exact moment of burst
now it’s all eruption of green
thick, not too thick
(just the perfect amount of thick)
speckled fungi of vibrant oranges
against green sprouting from earth
Everywhere these colors
have burst into being

I worry sometimes about my co-dependency on
green moss against rock
blanket of ferns
views of never ending ridges and valley
sounds of mountains springs making
their journey to larger water
hungry bodies eager for their arrival

but if I must be co-dependent then I’d rather it be
on this forest and its burst of colors and sounds
than anything (scratch that)
than anyone
not deserving of what I have to give
in exchange what is given to me

there were millions of stream crossings that day
dozens of holes in a hollowed out tree
a snake rattling under leaves
a toad I couldn’t quite catch
a quiet forest settling into summer

but today there was just a wrong turn
and when I realized I was on
the wrong path I took it anyway
knowing exactly where it would end

/ / /

Gina Thompson
25 June 2017
Bellefonte PA

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[POEM] this too shall pass


this too shall pass

so much so that he tattooed it on his arm
a permanent reminder of the impermanence of life
to remind him that these feelings never last
the intensity of that first kiss
stolen time that is not given
getting caught in a deluge of rain
the skip of the heart from a smile
the numbness of tragedy

it all fades eventually
into quiet whispers of our past
so we get permanent reminders
on our skin
perhaps a quote on the foot
or maybe personally designed art
on the forearm or leg

so we can hold on to these feelings
for when impermanence
washes them away

/ / /

Gina Thompson
19 June 2017
State College PA

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[POEM] there we all were

there we all were
for the original Websters poetry open mic crew

Today I found us in a little pocket folder

Not just you and I 

But the collective “us” we created 

Maybe you created, but I like to think I had a hand in it 

Two years gone and nothing remains but shadows

If you listen close you can hear the whispers of words  

being spoken rhythmically and melodically 

and a collective laughter can be heard among the smell of musty books 

We were brought together by our love 

of words crafted carefully and tenderly together 

In that basement cafe we made something beautiful together 

Now there’s only the memory of a not so easily forgotten past

No matter how hard some of us try 

I found us while cleaning my office 

All together tucked inside a card stock pocket of poems 

/ / / 

Gina Thompson
13 June 2017
Bellefonte PA

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[POEM] At the intersection of Sand Spring and Bald Knob Ridge

At the intersection of Sand Spring and Bald Knob Ridge
for Stacy

It had been a hard year for us
In recovery mode, we set out for the forest 
Parked at a gate, hiked along a windy trail
It was hot under the late summer sun
But the breeze spoke only of Autumn 

We stopped for water and a snack 
I looked for forest creatures
Watched planes fly overhead 
While you made a table of the rocks 
Cut up cheese and meat with your pocket knife 
I read you poetry by a wandering Japanese monk 

You asked if we should keep going
I said no, because I didn’t understand then 
The significance of distance 
I didn’t know that trail the way I do now 
How it curves and climbs, up over the ridge line and down to the stream

This forest is so familiar now
I can hardly remember a time before I knew it so intimately 
But I remember that day
Early autumn breeze, late summer sun, Ryokan, and a trail beneath our feet 

/ / /

Gina Thompson 
14 May 2017
Bald Knob Ridge Trail, Rothrock State Forest 

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[POEM] shared solitude

shared solitude
for JoJo

bare feet cold against
the earth, the brick steps, the wood porch
but these birds need food
and this heart needs calming
last night it didn’t frost
so life continues for the plants
the ones we’ve planted and the ones
that return from the ground year after year

mornings from this hilltop bungalow
haven’t changed all that much this past decade
a pair of doves on the dormer
the black squirrel stealing bird seed
sun casting light across the mountains
but now my solitude is sometimes
shared with a little human
smaller than me but wiser maybe

she sits beside me in quiet contemplation
points to a bird on a wire
“I wish I could go up there and say hi to that birdie”
she wants to fly
glide along air currents
and who can blame her?
“being up high is fun”
that’s why I run to the tops of mountains, I tell her
we both look out across the valley
the small mountains beyond
and I know she’s thinking the same thing:
how grand it would be to soar above the tree tops

/ / /

Gina Thompson
9 May 2017
Bellefonte PA


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[POEM] the birds know

the birds know

sitting on the porch steps together
she said the birds should
fly south for the winter
I reminded her it was spring
but it’s so cold this morning
the birds don’t mind, I told her
they know it’s only temporary

/ / /

Gina Thompson
9 May 2017
Bellefonte PA

free write based on the WordPress Daily Prompt: Temporary

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[POEM] Van Gogh in the trees

Van Gogh in the trees
inspired by the children’s book Daniel Finds a Poem

salt on my lips after an early morning workout
mapping out my run between
sips of hot coffee against heavy eyelids
deciding how many miles
which trails to venture along
which mountains to climb

fighting back the negative self-talk
“you can’t” “what’s wrong with you” “you’re so slow”
especially these days when I have
no voice other than my own
to accompany me on the trails

seeing Van Gogh in the trees
the early season horse fly that follows waiting for a bite
the tick I have yet to discover finding warmth on my skin
chirping birds drowned out by a relentless wind
a mountain breeze thick with threats of rain
new growth on the pine trees juxtaposed against a dying limb

saplings sprouting from the ground
heavy with fallen leaves from last autumn
the skinny pines playing host to fungus
peppered on the west side only
fallen trees after a storm
the end of living the beginning of decay
the beginning of life for others
the morels and insects and animals
seeking shelter and warmth among the fallen beasts

there’s poetry to be found out here
if you know where to look
if you know how to let yourself go
if you don’t push back against nature
instead let it vibrate through all of you
feel the fog creep along your skin
the sharp rock beneath your foot
in those moments you are the poem
you’re so desperately trying to write
so others can understand why
you sometimes cry in the forest
because the beauty is too much
and you can’t find any other way
to express how madly in love you are
with every single piece of it

/ / /

Gina Thompson
6 May 2017
Bellefonte PA

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[POEM] root beer and wings 

root beer and wings

After my run, that familar sweat and smell lingering 
Three words in a text: I’m so hungry 
I suggest an old favorite tune of ours
and we sat at the bar 
ordered root beer and wings
I guess it would be a day of familiar for me

Our conversations have shifted lately 
It used to be all talk of our Shakespearean tragedy
and witty, somewhat caustic banter 
But these days we share our interests 
you tell me of the urban garden you and your partner are growing 
the birds you’ve seen outside your window
the latest in your newish journey in religion 

These days I’m more likely to pull out from my bag a map of my favorite forest 
Show you which trails I ran that week 
Talk about technical terrain and how the forest changes each time I’m out there 

During lunch you laughed and said:
“You just told me two names of people who have broken records running the Appalachian Trail.”
an observation we both lingered in quietly

I guess you could say things have changed 
But there we were drinking root beer and sharing wings
With that old familiar laughter and that old familiar ease
So some things change but some things don’t and somehow 
This is all becoming a new familiar to me 

/ / / 

Gina Thompson
5 May 2017
Bellefonte PA

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[POEM] hops and melon

hops and melon

my morning workout left me sweaty

that kind of sweat I remember from long summer runs in the forest 

so I took a shower to wash it away 

The smell, the memory of summer sun and humidity

But it followed me that day 

Lingered in the air around me 

I tried to hide it with the smell of hops and melon

Hops and melon

I visited a friend and I could still smell 

the summer runs and hot sun and humidity and sweat 

I apologized for my stench 

My friend reminded me that he was in no way surprised by the odor

“You’re always smelly” 

It’s true I emit a unique odor  

It’s not off-putting so much as it’s 


But this smell I never knew until 

Last summer’s sun and humidity and long miles in the forest 

And that day it lingered through the visit with my friend 

While I searched for mushrooms under a hot sun 

Through an old orchard I’ve only ever run past

This smell won’t wash off 

No matter how hard I scrub 

It lingers around me

Its strength waxes and wanes 

Is sometimes masked by the smell of 

Hops and melon 

But it never completely goes away 

Which is good, I suppose 

I suppose 

/ / / 

Gina Thompson
29 April 2017
Bellefonte PA

Free write based on the WordPress daily prompt: Perfume 

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[POEM] relentless 


Tonight the weather was relentless 

All thunder claps and lightning strikes and rain 

Oh the rain 

I walked thirty feet

It might as well have been thirty miles

I was soaked when I got to my car 

I sat inside and watched as the storm lit up the darkened sky 

It was magnificent 

It was relentless 

All thunder claps and lightning strikes and the rain 

Oh the rain 

When my little red car finally reached home

I was greeted with a smile and an umbrella

“You missed a great storm!”

The lighting striking and thunder roaring simultaneously 

The house shook, the power went out, but the little one, she didn’t make a peep

Slept through it all 

And even though I missed the sounds

I felt it 

in the parking lot at work, driving along the highway

I wouldn’t trade it for any other weather 

Not for southern sun or humidity or clear blue skies 

Because here in Central Pennsylvania, I’ve got a tiny bungalow on top of a mountain

where I can watch the storms roll in 

Relentless as they are 

With their lightning strikes and thunder claps and rain 

/ / / 

Gina Thompson
27 April 2017
Bellefonte PA

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