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Habeas Corpus

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Knots, a thousand lights, in
   sheer dark, aimed at my window,
tinny crystals, so mother dies
   in my sleep. The snow turns
coarse, goes out. An axe sounds
   where I'd never heard an axe before.
Breathing becomes dangerous. I can't
   help it, making me her, even
before I was born, her brain burning
   out patterns I follow like will
o' the wisps, sparks popping.
   I put on heels and find I can balance,
twist my spine, bend to get my seams
   straight on my own, no one to
call on, like she called me, sheer nylon
   turning on sheer skin under my palms.
I pull on the ratty musquash coat.
   I have the body. I move off in it,
eddying, trying to see who I am now.
   I totter down the street thinking,
one day he'll be sorry. And here I am.
   Sorry. I watch her getting smaller
up the road. I watch us both, till
   nothing's all there is.

Source: Poetry (Poetry)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

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Habeas Corpus

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