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How Much It Takes
by Star Coulbrooke

Summer's plum trees bend with rain,
each tall, leaf-loaded limb reclining,
branch-tips nearly touching ground.

In a year's time, my mother's losses
came like rain, testing her resiliency,
her nature to dip and sway with the weight.

Early summer, her husband died of cancer,
the earth soft, trees full-leafed and swaying,
their sighing a whisper inside her.

As leaves glowed purple, deepening with fall,
she gathered her dead mother's dresses,
sorted them softly, lilac and lavender.

Mid-winter, her teenage son fell to the floor,
gone from this world before the next breath,
trees brittling their bones against chill.

And when her granddaughter
died before spring, she withstood
the final breaking, not like trees that snap
when snow falls, heavy, out of season.


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