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Each morning she swept
stars from the wood floor, cursing
as the bright bits scattered,

and barked whenever I’d whine.
Her list of reasons why
I had no right to be unhappy

landed like lashes. At the open door
she bent and snapped
the broom’s bristles—forbade

the stars to return. I didn’t ask how
they got inside our room—the cracks
in the ceiling, I suppose.

She kept the windows shut.
I’m sorry, Mom, I never thought of you,
even once, as a little girl.