• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 08
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It was obvious who wore the pants
in our family. My father wouldn’t have
wanted to even if he had known how.

And then, there was some sadness about her
that would cut you like a knife and stay
with you like an old knee injury.
A distant red star, my mother,
13 and a half days of daytime, followed by
13 and a half nights of darkness,
cold, so bitterly cold.

Violent storms, whipping up
clouds of dust, would spread too fast
around her and hide her from us,
from herself.

We joked about it when we grew up, my
sister and I, how we’d lived in a sealed home,
besides having had to wear special suits near
her so we wouldn’t get burned or she wouldn’t
turn us into ice cubes.

And then, there were flowers in her garden she
often talked to, and a tree she called hers, blue
and wind-carved, which understood her
better than anyone dared to.

Fight for yourself, mother used to tell us.
If you don’t, no one else will.



I would hear her crying at night when I was
little but was too scared to ask.
Then one day, when I was big enough,
I thought I heard her say,
Because I’ve been strong for too long.