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About this poet

Amber Flora Thomas is the author of The Rabbits Could Sing: Poems (University of Alaska Press, 2012) and Eye of Water: Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), winner of the 2004 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, chosen by Harryette Mullen. Her third poetry collection, Red Channel in the Rupture, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2018. She lives in Washington, North Carolina.

Cupid

His wings rest at his feet.
His fists curl inside a brown paper bag.
The alert beak propped on his head

aims down the block into sidewalk pools
of streetlight. His red lips make plump
numbers. He has so much candy

the bottom bulges. A pumpkin arrives
on spindly orange legs, followed by
a skeleton crew of two with unkept

postures, baggy knees, and flaccid spines.
A ghost sidles up, his sheet belted,
a baseball cap holding sloppy eyeholes

in place. He hurries off with his posse
of short immortals, leaving the
wings where he stood.

The mother says, “Oh, look,”
disappointment as she brushes rubble
from feathers. She searches through streetlight

for her angel, holding the wings
so he’ll dig his arms through the straps,
shrugging on tonight’s beast.

Copyright © 2018 Amber Flora Thomas. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Spring 2018.

Copyright © 2018 Amber Flora Thomas. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Spring 2018.

Amber Flora Thomas

Amber Flora Thomas

Amber Flora Thomas is the author of The Rabbits Could Sing: Poems (University of Alaska Press, 2012) and Eye of Water: Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), winner of the 2004 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, chosen by Harryette Mullen. Her third poetry collection, Red Channel in the Rupture, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2018. She lives in Washington, North Carolina.

by this poet

poem

She is not afraid of gods. She leaves her skin,
still coiled, a great throat collapsed. 
Gods have entered and left.

The door sounds like a throat clearing
in its rusty evolution toward shadow,
an atrium from scalding noon.

She treats the dark like a cathedral.
She is all

poem
Weak motion of grasses and tern before the sea.
Worry’s school cresting here and everywhere
as failings.
 
I pace the cliff path, my hands cupped above my eyes.
The glare steals your progress, a kayak needling
the wide open.
 
2
poem

I’ve memorized its heart pounding into my thumb.
Breath buoys out. My fingers know how to kill,
closing on the bird’s slippery head.

I don’t remember. Was it that beak bit my chin?
Was it a claw cut my wrist? I blow feathers
away from its chest, smelling pennies and rain.

Skin like