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being brown

White sheets march off the laundry line at sunset Your mother across the alley of our yards twists shut her blinds. Her thin fingers do not shake like my mother’s as she folds me into the bathtub says to turn the water on in case of fire And whatever you hear, stay put hold your breath don’t let the pointed shadows find you. Your mother at the kitchen table platter emptied of cookies she fed us after school. We played Barbies, Slap Jack, Hide-and-Seek until you gave up wanted to

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