Poems by Gail Thomas

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Arrowhead Catechism

by Gail Thomas

From Canary Spring 2015

Gail lives near the oxbow of the Connecticut River along a flight path for hawks, eagles and herons.

You waited under knots of witch weed,
cradled in grub tunnels, heaved up
in winter, plowed in spring until
you landed at my feet.
If I hadn’t looked down
I would have missed your dull,
chiseled shaft, electric jolt in my palm.
Who made you?
God made me, I answered the nuns.
I saw you break
the surface of river, quick flash
of silver fin swerving
to miss
your best intention.

from Waving Book (2015, Turning Point/Word Tech)

Bald Eagle

by Gail Thomas

From Canary Winter 2014-15

A sighting
is what we long for
when January wind
slices across the ice.

Long wings spread
straight as a knife,
white head lowered,
eyes hungry
for movement.

Along the shore, sweep
of feathers sounds
like forgiveness.
What was almost
lost nests here,
sins redeemed
in the counting.


by Gail Thomas

From Canary Summer 2015

A year after the earthquake that
triggered a tsunami and cracked
reactors in Japan, a researcher
said, We were kind of startled,
by the mighty bluefin tuna
carrying radioactive
contaminants across the vast
Pacific to our shores.

Swimming breakneck over
6,000 miles of ocean, the fish
sought a spawning ground
and scientists waited
for some rough beast gliding
toward Big Sur.

Years ago I camped among
the wildflowers there
with my lover who came from
a small New England town.
She died at 31 from
a brain tumor as did others
in her town down river
from an old reactor. Last week
a 90-year-old woman
chained herself to
its rusted gate.

First published in New Verse News

The Last Mulberry Tree in Florence, Massachusetts

by Gail Thomas

From Canary Fall 2016

It survives in a lopsided tangle next to
the ball bearing repair shop across from
the plastics factory that used to be a silk mill.
That was when the abolitionists
said, No cotton in this town, and Sojourner Truth
drew crowds at Cosmian Hall. She settled
into a little house next to long-haired
communal types, white Unitarians, conductors
on the underground railroad who wanted
to change the name of the river to Arno
because Italian worms produced such fine silk.
Children stayed alert for the wriggling, green
bodies that earned coins, and purple
stained the sole of every boot.

From Waving Back (2015, Turning Point).

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