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The Mother
By Martina Reisz Newberry

She is in the background of her own life, hopes
that love might be an ever-present renascence,
knows it won't.

Sometimes her dreams are sacks of stones,
sometimes helium balloons in sleep's ballroom.
She accepts her exile,

smiles a "What-can-it-all-mean" smile most times.
She knows some flower names, some star names
though they are not kin to her,

she's taken the trouble to memorize them for chanting
on sleepless nights or when the conversation has traveled
beyond her at the dinner table.

Surrounded by fantasy children, she counts the ways
they love her or don't love her depending on
the time of day or year.

Different strokes for different folks goes the saying
and her arms tingle, they want so much to hold and stroke
what will never hold still for such great, mad love.


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