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Recorded as part of the Poem-a-Day series, September 8, 2015
About this Poem 

“In writing this poem, I began to understand that I was attempting to capture damaged moments, all of which have created splinters, or new selves. Each image has defined me in essential ways. Here were some moments I could gather and put down again, if necessary. Also, years ago, my father found a bag of undeveloped rolls of film from my childhood. The resulting photos were mostly washed out, but I found in the blankness an opportunity for the images of memory.”
Amber Flora Thomas

Damaged Photos

You get into puddles with the sky
and when this fails
pit your girl against an ocean.

Choices blur and make off with rooms
in the whiteness. Winged enough to manage
your red kimono’s 37 cranes in various
trajectories while you make the coffee.

You as God with rattlesnakes
and His Admiral Death holding down the muscle,
headless and breath swollen.

You scattered in her facelessness
behind the screen door, not frowning, not joyous,
just working her hands in a dish towel,
folding them away.

You as ether, over-exposed bursting place,
dulling with these selves, spun by light and
dropped into shadow places,
forgotten as you put the photos down.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Amber Flora Thomas. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 8, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets

Copyright © 2015 by Amber Flora Thomas. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 8, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets

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 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
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