The Art of Attention

By Erin Redfern

Featured Art: Untitled by Olivia Juenger

My husband rips off his sleeping bag, strips.
With blind hands I trace his thigh and find

the big tick bedded deep. To get it out
I take tender from touch, love from love.

Forget him, and work at working it free,
tugging gently at the hard tag, careful

as my mother when I was seven
and came home lice-infested. Lamplight warm

on my head, and her fingers, for once, patient,
parting the fine strands with a metal comb

while I held still, not wanting it to end.
In the cold tent we do full-body checks

by flashlight. Engrossed, removed. Slowly               
the bright circle excludes us, brings us in view.

Erin Redfern’s work has recently appeared in Rattle, The Hopkins Review, New World Writing, and The Massachusetts Review. She earned her PhD at Northwestern University, where she was a Fellow at the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence. She has served as poetry judge for the San Francisco Unified School District’s Arts Festival and a reader for Poetry Center San Jose’s Caesura and DMQ Review. She teaches poetry classes and workshops online.

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