All that summer sprinklers arched over the seaside grass.

We talked of drought while the salt-parched field grew sweet again. To help time pass

I tried to mow the lawn and in the morning I had my portrait done, holding my smile in place, till it grew formal.

Once I mailed you a picture of a rabbit and a postcard of Motif number one, as if it were normal to be a mother and be gone.

They hung my portrait in the chill north light, matching me to keep me well.

Only my mother grew ill.

She turned from me, as if death were catching, as if death transferred, as if my dying had eaten inside of her.

That August you were two, but I timed my days with doubt.

On the first of September she looked at me and said I gave her cancer.

They carved her sweet hills out and still I couldn't answer.

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