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Abbreviated

When making lists, I once wrote “He.” and “Ha.”–
instead of merely “H.”, as I do now.
This luxury of brevity
weighs heavily on me.

First to quaver, mid-list, is the pen.
Its wince shoots sirens to the hapless brain.
(I feel it first. It’s only after
that I revive my daughter.

Or she kills me, it’s either way the same.)
I see her then, in flashes—like the time
she danced out on the roof edge, or
escaped the moving car.

My husband, Henry (hence the “He.”), can’t hear
me in this place I’ve gone. I glimpse him there–
outside my gasp, inside his jar–
then grab for Hannah (hence the “Ha.”).

mother child

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