Mercedes Lawry

Foster Care

          Over 600,000 children in the U.S. live in foster care.

The boy looks from the window.
Peeling paint round the flat,
dark square. Eyes wide
in search of the missing piece

of whatever dreams and follows.
Some of the sky, blue and whole,
all of the rushing of trees collapsed
in a wild wind.

The night deepens, the last
pale gray shot with rose. He feels
his way into the strangeness,
feels swallowed.

The fractured breathing of another child,
safe in sleep, fills the room. He puts his palm
against the glass, pushes at memory,
at the sea of anxious smiles and false eyes.
So many dangerous fish.

He forgets which door is the bathroom.
He forgets how many times hes pulled
his clothes from the dirty green bag.
He forgets he has a brother.

Tumbled shadows hide things
on the silent street. He thinks that someday
he could enter the sky, lifting
high into the white song of belonging.

Copyright 1997, Mercedes Lawry

Mercedes Lawry has published poetry for over 20 years in magazines such as Fine Madness, Seattle Review, Caliban, Poet Lore, Blue Mesa Review, and, most recently, Switched-on Gutenberg. Shes received an Artist Trust GAP grant and a residency at Hedgebrook. She is Communications Director for National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a child advocacy organization for abused and neglected children.

Switched-on Gutenberg
Thematic Contents /
Vol. 3, No. 1
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