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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.

Shed

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 swallow, the heart working
under every scale to outgrow a fortified spiral.

The cathedral swallows the heart.
Take up your broom. No gods are left.
She finished the mice in time for autumn's gloom.

There are some cathedrals like this shed
behind the house where she shunned her body
and in the dark was not afraid of gods.

Sunlight pulls past our legs
on the plywood and pools in the coiled skin
that overwintered.

Dig your broom into corners.
She is not afraid of gods or matriarchs.

Copyright © 2013 Amber Flora Thomas. “Shed” originally appeared in Callaloo, Vol. 36, No. 2. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2013 Amber Flora Thomas. “Shed” originally appeared in Callaloo, Vol. 36, No. 2. Used with permission of the author.

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

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

poem

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

2
poem

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,