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October 09, 1994

I can't say I didn't cry for a week,

publicly, privately, cry such tears

I thought the mulch would turn to mud

around my flowers' ankles.

He didn't want to do it to me.

He didn't deserve to suffer my anger,

and I didn't want to kill him with it.

But I told him he could shoot me with less pain.

I saw my mother go into the ground without me.

My son's unborn children will hide when they see me coming.

I'll forget the names of my first friends.

I won't know whose sweet white house is whose,

their dogs will snarl when I stop to talk to them,

their mailboxes locked against my hand.

And won't they bury me outside the graveyard fence, out in the meadow

where the grass grows rank and wild?

I think you have one life, I told him, sorry to say it.

You cup your hands and drink it deep,

or you pour it out on strange ground

like so much spilled water.

From "Cora Fry's Pillow Book" by Rosellen Brown. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: $15; 179 pp.) 1994 Reprinted by permission.

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