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  4. Aubade by Amber Flora Thomas

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I know my leaving in the breakfast table mess.   
Bowl spills into bowl: milk and bran, bread crust   
crumbled. You push me back into bed.

More “honey” and “baby.”
Breath you tell my ear circles inside me,   
curls a damp wind and runs the circuit   
of my limbs. I interrogate the air,

smell Murphy’s Oil Soap, dog kibble.
No rose. No patchouli swelter. And your mouth—   
sesame, olive. The nudge of your tongue
behind my top teeth.

To entirely finish is water entering water.   
Which is the cup I take away?

More turning me. Less your arms reaching   
around my back. You ask my ear
where I have been and my body answers,   
all over kingdom come.

“Aubade” is from Eye of Water: Poems, by Amber Flora Thomas, © 2005. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: Eye of Water: Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005)
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  • Born and raised in San Francisco, poet Amber Flora Thomas earned a BA at Humboldt State University and an MFA at Washington University in St. Louis. Her lyric poems often engage the body as a record of loss and accrual. She is the author of  The Rabbits Could Sing (2012) and the Eye of Water (2005), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009) and Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (2006).
    Thomas’s honors include the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize from Rosebud magazine, the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize, and an individual artist grant from the Marin Arts Council. She has taught at Washington University in St. Louis, Dominican University of California, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and Eastern Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

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