Thad DeVassie

Thad DeVassie is a multi-genre writer and fine art painter who creates from the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. His collection, SPLENDID IRRATIONALITIES, was awarded the James Tate Poetry Prize in 2020 from SurVision Books. You can find more of his written and painted works at

Saying Your Name


I think about your name in my mouth, how it excited my being when spoken for the first thousand times, how it took shape, molded my mouth in expectation, formed a pattern.


A new thing becomes rote in time, the morphing of your name morphs to that pattern, the one that is not a declaration but question, an accusation of the thing I once loved to speak; it became habit, a redundancy without thrill, how a name gave way to nicknames meant to revive the act of speaking you with joy, before any legalism attached to it, a forlorn, forgotten love in vowels and consonants, of you rolling off the tongue to the delight of its sound.


I fear / know / will soon speak your name with unfamiliar boldness, speak it so loud it emerges hoarse-barked in an unseen custom font, something italicized and guttural from a depth previously unknown, knowing that call will be the first to go unanswered in a string of wailing pleas as you leave unexpected, or planned, breaking the mold cast so long ago so that it is hard to form the word as once formed, embrace its implied meaning as I did at the start.


It is the same name, emanating from the same voice, meaning the same thing but not the same thing at all. 

Invisible Geometry

My nine-year-old asks about the dark sides,
sides not easily seen, and if they cannot be seen
do they exit. I feel I am about to enter a black hole.

Before answering I imagine asking this
of my own father, if he saw the other sides
of his son. If he bothered to look.

With internet help my son learns a myriagon
has 10,000 sides, a megagon has one billion,
and how an apeirogon is a polygon with an infinite

number of sides. Imagine that, he says.
And I do, confirming the geometry of my youth
and numbered days as an incomplete theorem,

wholly incongruent. Then he asks what form has
the most complex or interesting sides. I know this
as if were etched into my skin: The human form.

But I say – I don’t know. It is his problem to solve
now, to look with intent for complexities in things
appearing deceivingly simple and one dimensional.

Make Things Whole


Snowfall’s white descent is piling up, uninterrupted,
in layers of soft milk-chalk, as if this is its burdensome
intent, to lay rule over a silenced city.

Snowflake: not the modern fragile sense, but as perfect
crystallization, the sum of every shade of color,
each one as wholly unique.

Children on the PS 118 playground know this,
know that snow is an invitation, a communal call
that bestows no rules.

A snowman gets built, rolled through dirt and debris,
patted down with wet and snot-smeared mittens.
His dirty, rock-coal eyes wink to their delight;

a smile of stones follows. A child pulls a button
from her thrift-store coat, offering what she can
to make things whole.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN