Two Poems

by Cammy Thomas

The Clay

Nothing realizes me
except atoms.

Pine trees sift
with snow, glassy fields,
my boots not fitting—

all that pacing, watching,
everything turning.

Empty pockets,
blue scarf in a drawer
outliving its owner,

and that other in the mirror
who looks back at me:
she sees the clay.

Night among the owls,
empty house,

a clanging, as cars
and planes sail by,
blanks of the universe—

my eyes spill over
with something wet
that shines, like life.

The Box

She arrived ahead of schedule
so they put her in a plastic box.
Not quite three pounds,
froggy legs curled under her.
I could stand pediatric
intensive care for an hour at most.
One confident mother
held her tiny son,
stayed all day to bathe
his inch-long feet
after the docs
pricked his heels for blood.
He was too small to scream.

Once a boy all yellow,
too sick for the box, was splayed out, paralyzed,
on a warming table,
chest heaving from a breathing
machine. They covered him
with bubble wrap as
he had no heat of his own.
The mom and dad came
with a priest, so nurses
pulled the privacy screen,
and we all heard baptism—
and last rites. Next day,
he was gone. “Don’t worry,”
the resident told us, “We’ll tell you
if your baby’s dying.”

We decided to name her—
Claire. Often when we bent
to the hole in the box,
and softly called her name,
her breathing faltered.


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About Cammy Thomas

Cammy Thomas has published two collections of poems with Four Way Books: Inscriptions (2014) and Cathedral of Wish, which received the 2006 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her poems are forthcoming or have recently appeared in The Missouri Review, Salamander, Ocean State Review, The Maine Review, and Off the Coast. A fellowship from the Ragdale Foundation helped her complete Inscriptions. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Cammy Thomas

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