I’m five again. Dresses with bows
in the back become an impossible reach.
Mother’s death is everywhere — especially
in speechlessness, in flour bags
beneath dark olives of Daddy’s eyes.
He’s earned this shade of painful pitch.
Phrases that corner her name
rub rocks in the gaping sore, create
a kind of carpet burn when
elbows touch by accident.
My sister tries on all her clothes —
ghostly blouses hang below her shaking knees
like circus tents without their pegs.
She throws them on the bedroom floor
in angry heaps of autumn leaves.
Soon enough we’ll learn to sweep,

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