You must understand, the kind
of woman you are is always taken
seriously. Things you hold on to

are heavier than the world, and things
you hold up stay there, even after
you have folded your arms

in the same breath as not bad,
and moved on to the next piece
of sky that could be bluer.

You raise your children to reach
for every brightness, roots deep
in a bed you turned and turned, breaking

adversity into manageable portions.
What you bruise grows back
stronger. They know this.

When you sign the name you gave
yourself when you gave yourself
to us, you are writing sacrifice,

or love, or both, and when you say
enough it means more than,
so when I answer you,

you must understand, my words
still strain towards light, and in
my silence, what I mean

to say is I don’t know
how to, but by God,
Mother, I will try.

hold

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