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Kay BellSeptember 18, 2020

Mother, I keep praying the parts of you
out of me   & yet you keep returning,

always wearing a secondhand dress
always fraught and wayward
always sunbathing in grief;

refusing to love any one island          or man.

& you know how hard I’ve tried to not disappoint you
           but how I’ve innately become a wound on the flesh     salted,

& how you have carried me like a knife on the tongue           twisting

& how each time I tried to say goodbye     it was your maternal glory
          that choked me

& then you couldn’t bear to love the one who reminded you                     of yourself,

& each time you tried    you were forced to recite prayers of your own:

Dear Lord, you have buried a gun in my womb    please    don’t shoot

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