the other mother

Photo by Olga Lioncat on Pexels.com
I came into my own all skin and bone.
I’m dreaming still, catching glimpses of
the other mother beyond the kitchen 
window, hanging sheets in the sun. 

She hums, nonsensical and comforting,
a tune she can’t remember the origins of.
I’m at the stove stirring jarred sauce 
counterclockwise, trying to magic her away.

I lock every door and she carefully 
removes each knob, shines them, hums again. 
Her snail’s pace is patience, thrumming
through the rooms where I try to exist. 

She shadows me in the dark, in the
quiet places where I tell myself I cannot do this.
She lifts my burning eyes to my sons wrapped like
ivy in the sheets, sleeping soundly as moonlight.

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