Two poems – Robert Beveridge

Robert Beveridge

Pen

“I like it here,”
William says through
a plexiglass plate
and a bakelite handset.
“I know where I stand.”
He kicks back, puts
his feet up on the desk
a guard motions them down
William grins. “See?”

Three Children

The mother is wrapped
in rags no better
than those around her baby.
She lies in a modern-
day manger, coin-operated,
shaped like a race car
outside Wal-Mart.
She gazes down, awed
by the perfection of bone
viewed through translucent skin
stretched tight.

* * *

One arm reaches,
as if heavenwards. It festers,
pocked with sores,
red as its owner’s wails.
The baby’s mother lies
in the next room,
face down, still.

* * *

Mother and child side by side
next to the road. Mother’s thumb
solid with frostbite,
faces mottled against the wind
that blows like ice from stalks
of wheat. SUVs, eighteen
wheelers, station wagons
pass, on their ways
to destinations
no doubt important.
Mother smiles, takes
the child’s cup, puts it
under her arm to warm the last
of the juice.

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