Home > Poetry > Stillwater
Published: Sat Jul 1 2006
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

Over my daughter’s empty bed, a nurse sliding
hands into the metal tucks the edges of the sheet,
folds down the blanket, draws the drapes shut.

In a room across the hall, a girl watches the wind
draw water into black curls on the river below
where small, tin boats motor home after sunset.

When someone passes by, a draft pushes sideways
the circlet of her dream catcher. Everyone reads the door:
Give Me a Hug Today. Free Leonard Pelltier.

The lights in these rooms throw heat that can be turned up
or down, can be shut off or aimed toward a thing. Night
begins in her window, a dark curtain spread onto glass.

In the reflection the girl sees her larger room,
the sweeping feathers, the hall, this white room,
a woman beside a bed, head up, then down again.

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