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The Sunbeam Nursery

ISSUE:  Winter 1982
Every night before we go to sleep
we check the sunbeam nursery
to see if the children are dreaming again.

They were not expensive children;
they came with their own clothes.
Even though they were a little out of date

we came to love them for their tears.
Good old-fashioned tears. Tears
for the dark things, tears for the light animals

that slip from their walls each night
like camel hair sweaters, & hug them
as they swelter in their bad skins.

We have been to every doctor of consequence.
They tell us we have captured true beauties.
Every night, we open the light of their asking,

their wishing. & they in turn give us
their bruised dreams: The lion creeps
off the walls, & eats little children,

the bats poison the dog, a centipede
could be stretching out on the end
of the comforter, it could. & what would

you do then? Our iridescent children
with their tough hides, their willed black eyes.

We never think of fitting names
to their faces, & I think they would be
disappointed if we did. Starship, & Mercy

they carried with them in their rotten satchels.
They asked us to chuck them away, anywhere,
away, & start fresh, & so, we threw them

into the trash compactor, & they were happy
seeing their names crushed with the orange juice
cans, the dead pork chops, the rinds of yellow

melons. Ah, yes, the sunbeam nursery
with its windows of ancient fire. We never tire
putting their things back into place.


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