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Updated: Oct 13, 2022

“I look at you and see him:

your eastern brows, your thick locks,

the way you leave trails of sticky notes

and dot the room with cold teacups;

I see the day he took you from me when

even Margaret Thatcher couldn’t help me.

I see it all over again.”

She tells her daughter

the same story she’s told her every year:

“He chained me to a bed and then…”

When the daughter removes the lamp

from her room, the room in which she

scatters notes and dots teacups,

her mother tells her:

“This is not your home.”

Her daughter pleads: “I came back

years ago, but you still see only

my father’s shadow.”

When the daughter is bedridden, hospital-bound,

her mother, through a throng of spirits

oozing from her outstretched lips, says:

“I must dash to a party because I want to…”

Her daughter mutters: “Have sex.”

And when the daughter moves to a foreign land,

her mother emails every six months;

she does not text because it costs

two pounds:

two pounds of hope.

A mother protects herself from

her love for her child.

She cannot bear to suffer loss. She

cannot bear defeat

to two palm trees and a sword,

and the guilt

of not rescuing her child

from a man who shackles and beats so

she cuts the cord.

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