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Birth Mothers Are Shadows Afraid of the Dark

by Jen Hawkins

2nd Place, Poetry, Create | Encounter 2019

When you take the boy,

take my bones, she said.

So they made a key of his cry, and out

trilled her spine like a xylophone. Out

went her arms like kite sticks,

no strings.

Around his neck, a raisiny collar. The rest

slung behind, frown-upside-


crucified Peter or toothless bat.

She was his pale windsock, his vanishing

twin, not the noose but the


not the hand at the cradle but the hushed glove


She whispered tales of gum-stuck under-

bellies and noble under-

dogs. Promised

to be his Superman cape.

And at night, he kicked off the blankets, that she might see the stars at his feet.

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