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Naomi in a shoebox
by Patria Rivera

Dusk, and coming home,
we shook off the mud from our toes,
the dust of play from our legs.
Inside the house people talked
in low voices. Mother was back
from the hospital, bringing
you home, Naomi, in a shoebox.

You were so small I could barely
see your toes. Your fingers curled,
your lips blue and unmoving.
I waited for you to smile,
but you kept your eyes closed, even as they lined
Father’s shoebox with Mother’s old lace.

They said you had to wait
for another bed of pinewood
because it was too late in the night.

I guess I must have fallen asleep.
When I woke up you were gone,
and Mother’s old lace
was back on the altar with a lit candle.

 



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