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Sidewalk Cracks

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I think over the years
I have stepped on too many
sidewalk cracks

And maybe,
if I had been just
a little more careful -
a little more conscious
of where my clumsy feet were
falling -
there would not be so many cracks
in my mother.

But I am the forever
ungrateful child
breaking bones and feelings;
wiping grimy hands
on perfect glass
and watching it fracture
under my heavy fingers.

It’s nights like these
when the phone rings and
I hear all the things I have missed,
when my sister tells me
about all the bruises
I was not there to block,
that I wish I could take back
every misstep,
every careless word,
and all the days
I was never there to catch her.

In my absence,
I have accumulated blood
on my hands
that I will never be able
to wash away

And maybe,
if I hadn’t stepped on so many
sidewalk cracks
on my way out the door,
my mother might still be
unbroken.



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