Let’s draw the place where you live.
Let’s draw the one at home waiting for you,

the food you will eat. Under your desk,
under the wooden library table,

inside the instrument closet,
take this piece of paper, this crayon.

Nurturing healing love,
Jesse has written
on the board. Promise me.

Now run outside and keep your eyes shut.

From here on nothing will be like:
I was just thinking, they were just singing,

leaning on each other.

In the time it takes to breathe ten breaths,
to what extent do we actually see or hear?

What is the escape plan for children
between the ages of reason and magic?

Keep looking at me. Because life is a vapor
and days are alphabets. Because the truth

one is not permitted to say.

Omit me, go back in.
Fold your hands on the table.

Let’s make maracas from bottles,
tissue, and gourds. Now run outside

and keep your eyes shut. The motion of hope
is not circling alone on a field, gasping for air

when the shooting stops. Keep looking at me.
Here’s a shoebox. Let’s try harp of gold.

What else do we need?

Heather H. Thomas is the author of Blue Ruby, Resurrection Papers, and Practicing Amnesia. Her poems have been translated into Albanian, Arabic, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Spanish, and Swedish. She has received a 2014 Rita Dove Honorable Mention Prize in Poetry, Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry, and a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellowship.
(Photo courtesy of David Walker)

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