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backroom blues

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go all the way
to the back of the store.
go through door
into back room and
turn immediately to the left.
slide between desk and table and
walk all the way to the wall.
turn left again–second cube down
label reads parenting. inside
three stacks of books to display.
i wanted to change the endcaps today
but that was before the hole came open.
those things i was supposed to make seen
made me fall apart. large photo album
in my hands became prettier than the ocean
at the end of the lane. yellow, least favorite
color in the rainbow now beauty in my heart.
it had thirteen squares to hold pictures,
space for one year centered and places
for birth through eleven months running from
top to side to bottom to side. each square
a place-holder baby who smiled
bright-eyed or played with toes.
no one else was in the back room
for this moment. me
free to cry alone in hot corner
a mourner for a child
who still hasn’t lived.
i wanted to make someone’s shirt wet.
i wanted to give them some of my weight,
to vomit out all the dreams i ate of babies
never to wake me for milk. i wanted katie
to walk in to hold me and console me and
when she finally did come she had three men
on her heels. loud voices. laughter. wheels
squeaking on carts and drink filling cup.
me tidying up face
making sure eyes okay
leaving books with babies
on the covers for others
not worth half of a breakdown.

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