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Tuesday, June 12, 2012


by E.F. Schraeder

Slight girl, no more than six:
pallid faced, like hunger
just before vitamin deficiencies.

The collapse of a small frame
a quiet thing, easy to miss
as glacial ice melting

from below as an ocean warms.
Her eyes a little sunken,

voice a little flat. She shrugs

when you ask how she is

or what she wants to be

when grown up, a time too late

from what she needs now.
Passing check up at school
with the right boxes checked,

vaccines and illness history.
TANF is silent as a moon, and
no one from Children’s Services

ever asks how she feels.

Not even an expert teacher
responsible for the curriculum

of standardized materials

can pause to listen to her
unexceptional cues of disappointment.

E.F. Schraeder's poems have appeared or are forthcoming at Haz Mat Review, Five Poetry, Corvus Magazine, New Verse News, and other journals.  She is currently working on a new manuscript of poems.