Randolph Thomas

Each afternoon we took apart
the stacks of cots at the back of the room.
The teacher and her aides

handed out pillows and quilts, and we
lay on the cots for forty-five minutes
in silence

in the dark.
I lay awake while all the others slept
like I lie awake sometimes now

wondering what made me uneasy
even then, the voices
of the elders

whispery and muted
nursing their secrets
and the other children around me

content, trusting
in their sound napping
until the lights clicked back on,

until they rose, yawning,
as the cots and pillows
were gathered and put away.

Issue 9, 2017, pg. 10