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:: Scorched Umbrellas by Janet I. Buck ::

You were three and I was over forty’s edge.
Curious in waterfalls. Cousins kissing
innocence to be expected like the rain.
My leg was stranded, sitting there,
a whale beached and incomplete.
Your mother treated wonderment
as misbehaving sadly drew the line
between the things you wanted so to ask
and couldn’t sweat in honesty.
You watched me swimming in the pool
like fish around a coral reef.
Aquariums of normal were
the only menus handed over.
Bridled shock in Mommy’s eyes
when you attacked and swatted
at my lifeless limb, touched it like
a fingertip that ran across a bumble bee.

Excuses dripped like runny noses.
Nothing needed to be said.
Pity’s bell was always there.
I was hardly new to eyes
and viruses of chronic pain
were races hardly ever won.
If you had asked, I would have
told you blunt, blunt, blunt.
The climate had its challenges.
Rods of faith were crucial here.
A body is an arrow aimed
like scorched umbrellas at the sun.

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