Thin Places

I love the title! Readers associated thinness with ghosts. This experience shows us a thinness, or closeness to the dead. Rachel Talen, age 21

Now in the minute, the river's break rising,
      after the turn in scuffed leaves at a mile and a half
            toward home, I see them again,
My parents strolling back from the dead,

Ghosts do seem to stroll…like they have all the time in the world. Rachel Talen, age 21

      here to haunt me--the two thoughts leaping,
            lithe deer vaulting the rational fence.
In truth, I've seen them three times, each time
      my breath snagging in mid-inhale or out
            the man's shock of gray hair falling
just as Cecil's did, his thin shoulders and neck
      achingly familiar in their stiff bending
            toward her. And the woman could be
Norma's twin--her thick body, the limping step

I love the way the memory of the poet’s parents seem to supernaturally manifest themselves in other people. It really speaks to the power of memory. Kyle Austin, age 21

      in white-soled shoes. The couple nears,
            pauses, and goes on sailing past,
each nodding with a smile. At least, now,

The addition of “at least, now” allows the reader to speculate about the parents’ relationship, and how it affects the speaker. Kara Madden, age 22

      they're holding hands--up close, the resemblance
            fades. Thin places, the Irish call them,

I’m struck by this idea of the “thin places”. It suggests a border between our reality and another that is more easily transcended than we can imagine. Kyle Austin, age 21

the places near a hawthorn where spirits
      pass back, squeezing like the sheep do,
            a spray-painted X in red or blue, through a gap
in rock, in time. The road out from Westport
      to Tully Cross, or this riverside, stateside place, neither one
            a landscape familiar to them, or known.

"Thin Places" appears with permission of the author; it first appeared in New Letters and was published in She Walks Into the Sea, copyright 2009 Michigan State University Press.

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.