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Christina Thatcher

the poet

Christina Thatcher is a Creative Writing Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She keeps busy off campus as Poetry Editor for The Cardiff Review, a tutor for the Poetry School, and a member of the Literature Wales Management Board. Her creative work has featured in over 50 literary magazines, and she's published two poetry collections with Parthian Books: More than you were and How to Carry Fire.

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the poems

Becoming an Astronaut

00:00 / 01:25

Brother, if you want to become an astronaut you must 
first earn a degree in engineering, science, or mathematics. 
This will take four years or more. After this you can choose: 
become a pilot, join the military, complete a PhD or recognize 
you exceed the height requirement (147 centimeters) 
and decide this is enough to try. Astronauts must 
then complete technical courses in meteorology
and geology. You must learn to scuba dive, to survive 
in the open ocean, tread water for hours. You must fly 
a T-38 Talon Jet, learn Russian. You must receive medical training. 
You must accept the principles of microgravity. You must 
simulate space walks at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.  
You must repair and operate space vehicles. You must relearn 
how to move objects in a frictionless world. You must trust 
your mentors and rehearse your chosen mission. You must
embrace fear but understand, too, that you are ready:
you have been training for this since the first day
you picked up a needle and took yourself to the moon.

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Detox Passage

after William Brewer
00:00 / 01:21

You find spoons everywhere:
under kitchen cabinets, inside comforters, 
poking through boxer briefs. Yesterday,
you sat on the sofa and discovered spoons 
had replaced stuffing. You cut open cushions, 
heaved out hundreds. This is a clearing process.

You dream only of metal. The pastor tells you: 
This is normal. You must simply let go of the spoons. 
You accept this but the sink still fills up with silver. 
The shower spits sterling. Rid yourself of temptation, 
my son. The pastor has our father’s blue-green eyes.

You listen and nod: throw out every spoon in the house.
You tell the pastor you can do it. You believe 
you can do it. God is with you, my son. 
The jerks in your arms and teeth begin 
to go. All you had to do was rid yourself

of temptation. You thank God for new strength, 
bow your head to pray for more good, 
more clean, but every time you close 
your eyes you see 
that silver curve 
and linger.

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00:00 / 00:48

If stones were being thrown
it would be better, at least

then there’d be mystery
and motive. Who did this—

leapt into our high-walled
garden at 4am with an arsenal

of rocks? Instead I think 
it is a sign:

thunder, high winds, rain 
and then a battering

on the conservatory roof,
our puffy-tailed cat running

from the room, up-ending
sleep. Like last year’s oak

which rotted and fell, claimed 
a car in the office parking lot

just as your body was carried 
like a grain sack to the barn—

I fear this hail is exclaiming 
it happened:

you finally let go
of your life.

Publishing credits

Becoming an Astronaut: North American Review
Detox Passage: commended in the 2019 Battered Moons

  Poetry Competition
Hail: exclusive first publication by iamb

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