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The broom

The broom

Whenever I pick up the broom,
you run upstairs to hide–
even when I let you know
ahead of time,
even with my baby talk voice:
Going to get the broom Odie so I can sweepy-sweep…

Suddenly I am not the woman
whose ribs you curl into
at night,
whom you sigh and dream with
and fart on.
I am not the woman who walks you
the long way home,
the way you want to go,
Not the woman who saves all of the salmon skin
to put on top of your kibble.

I am archetype of a human,
a two-legged monster who must have beaten you
terribly with a stick
in those mystery days
before we knew you,
before you had a bed here, toys, food, love.

There is nothing I can do
in that moment
but recognize
that capacity for cruelty,
to feel the broom in my hand and wonder
what might make me turn it into
a weapon.

I finish the chore,
call up the stairs to you.
You make your way back down,
sit on the couch beside me
while I return to typing words
that help me try to comprehend the world.

You put your head on my lap,
a pillow.
Now you are you again
and I am me

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