Tough Love

Tough Love

Tough Love 1920 1280 Pamilerin Jacob

mother said, the lies were necessary
to keep her children sane. the most

common lie in the world is a smile:
mouth full of dust,       I too

know what it means to   hold a secret
like a bomb,   fearful of   spilling death

into another’s palms.   a kid, I wore my mother’s
shoes to practise my waltz

with silence. at the peak of   breaking
is soundlessness, every day   mother

held him quietly, in our presence
sheep hugged the wolf

to keep it from eating her children
this is why I keep preaching darkness

I remember
three of us in the yard, licking

dust off the playground, six dirty hands
digging the earth, for attention

because she never held us
as babies…

Header photograph © Elizabeth Hart Bergstrom.

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