April Ossmann: "The Mechanical Home Care Bed"



An awkward unbeautiful ferry

too big for the room it sailed in—

whose slanting metal bars

did nothing to keep the rough sea out,

but appeared to keep my father in,

clinging as he did to one with his

too-thin arm and tilting his gaze

to see around them: such

a transforming, grateful, smile

for an offering so small: such

mundane conversation. The bed

with its hanging trapeze—

a sailing circus none of us wanted

to witness—intended they said

to assist in raising himself

from the bed, though we knew

the truth: a hangman’s triangular

noose dangling all those weeks

over his weary head.



April Ossmann is the author of Anxious Music (Four Way Books, 2007), and has published poetry in journals and anthologies including Harvard Review, Colorado Review, and From the Fishouse; and her awards include a Prairie Schooner Readers' Choice Award. Formerly the executive director of Alice James Books (2000 – 2008), she owns a consulting business offering manuscript editing and publishing advice to poets. She is among the inaugural faculty members for the new, low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Sierra Nevada College at Lake Tahoe, and teaches private tutorials and poetry workshops using a method she developed to teach poets to revise their work objectively. She has also taught at the University of Maine – Farmington and Lebanon College, and lives in Post Mills, VT.