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Sarah Mae Allard

Cleanse. Tone. Moisturize. My mother
taught me the religion
of face care before I had learned
the alphabet; the heat
of a stovetop burner; that bees

listened to me when I spoke;
of the death of my great grandmother;
of Kindergarten; the screaming
of my parents who loved me; that lilac bushes
made the most beautiful

houses; the fragility
of marriage; the fact that
Connecticut air smelled cleaner
than that of Massachusetts; what rape
was; what it was to float

alone, motherless,
fatherless, existence-
less; that days could continue
despite one's death; the feeling
of a first true smile after years;
the brutal rip

a mother causes in a child
when she leaves, and leaves,
and leaves. Cleanse. Tone.


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