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by Beth Thomas

Over my daughter’s empty bed, a nurse sliding
hands into the metal tucks the edges of the sheet,
folds down the blanket, draws the drapes shut.

In a room across the hall, a girl watches the wind
draw water into black curls on the river below
where small, tin boats motor home after sunset.

When someone passes by, a draft pushes sideways
the circlet of her dream catcher. Everyone reads the door:
Give Me a Hug Today. Free Leonard Pelltier.

The lights in these rooms throw heat that can be turned up
or down, can be shut off or aimed toward a thing. Night
begins in her window, a dark curtain spread onto glass.

In the reflection the girl sees her larger room,
the sweeping feathers, the hall, this white room,
a woman beside a bed, head up, then down again.


Currently, Beth Thomas’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Poetry Daily, Seneca Review, Bellingham Review, and The William and Mary Review. She was awarded a 2006 residency at the MacDowell Colony. (3/2006)

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