Bulwark

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My mother is still there.

On her bed,

her blankets that matched ours

still folded from the warmer nights.

They are smaller, neater, perhaps not so soft.

The phone is back at its nightstand post,

prepared to serve.

Her blouse is crushed and wilted.

She tells me that it’s fine

everything’s fine

just an argument

no, your dad isn’t mad at you or your brothers

we just disagree sometimes

it’s all okay.

The great protector has become a liar

to spare us from her harsh wisdom.

I know this, but I agree.

Her hair has escaped its confines

and continues to swirl onto her face

unbounded, uncaring, disobedient,

shoving for attention in the hero’s defeat.

Her attempts to fight it are futile.

She sends me to bed with a hug and a kiss,

lingering for just a second,

the flap of a hummingbird’s wing.

She is still there,

crying when she believes we cannot hear

begging for help like my baby brother

screeching for his fire truck.

She has been bested

but she is still there.

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