Octave by Mel Thompson

Poem title: Octave Poet name: Mel Thompson Poem: If I sank down an octave would I fit where I am? Would I have space to turn back around? Narrower hips, perhaps a straighter lip thick fingers wide shoulders stubborn bones. Each time my skull itches it makes a small wish, a whisper packaged too tight in smooth skin— If the wind kissed my neck, laid it bare no resistance Would my hands miss clinging to curls? Should I run lower, run truer run straight my chin would dive in a direction brand new— a waxed moon, so delicate and true, I want her wider want her frictioned want her ridged. Does she have the courage to take a deep plunge? Does she fear she can’t make a return? My wrists pray for some coarseness, for knuckles spouting dark hair, for nails stubby nails jagged nails chipped— a simple indulgence to roll up my sleeves, to twist a watch with a steady-beating heart. Could it be just for a second? Even half a quick breath? I need to see my reflection look kinder— I’m told it comes from within, the call to begin except I hear it outside myself, wailing. End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © Mel Thompson Mel Thompson is a poet and theatre creator based in Toronto. Their work, existing across artistic disciplines, explores the nuances of queer identity and gender expression within contemporary Canadian spaces. Mel was the recipient of the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for Canadian Youth in 2018. After graduating from York University in 2022, Mel served as an LGBTQ+ literary artist in residence with the City of Brampton. They have since had their work featured in a number of literary and theatrical showcases across the GTA. Inspired by confessional-style free verse, Mel began self-publishing their poetry on Instagram in 2015. It is within this ever-changing Internet space that Mel continues to experiment with digital forms; the online literary community has revolutionised the visual and social presentation of poetry, and Mel is fascinated by the possibilities this opens for interdisciplinary artists. Mel’s debut poetry collection is currently in development, alongside several performance projects for the theatrical stage. Their published writings can be found on Instagram at @prosebymel.