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She Makes Her Bed

                                    Carol Carpenter


All night the rain falls.
Oak limbs bend,
scratch at the glass
of her window. Each wet drop
wiggles down the pane,
blown by wind, pulled by gravity
into cursive lines of memories
she slips over her head
like a well-worn nightgown.

Tonight, the crazy quilt
she sewed holds her down.
She fingers each piece.
The blue bowling shirt triangle
blazes with her husband’s number,
holds the smoke he chose.
She cut up his jeans worn thin
on the thigh where he wiped
his palms when he got mad,
before he walked out the door once
and for all. Her daughter’s graduation
gown gaped back at her, its black
hole holding the fights, the late nights,
the boyfriends who hid outside
taking her where her mother
did not know and could not go.

The antique ivory silk with lace
swished at her wedding so long ago.
She can’t even vouch for what she vowed,
only how she clutched a bouquet
of pink larkspur she plucked
from the meadow, a wild flower
that attracted her and butterflies.
The honey bees buzzed danger.

In the morning, she makes her bed
as she does every day. Her muscles remember.
She flutters and smoothes the bottom sheet,
then yanks the corners tight and folds.
The top sheet billows before she turns
it down and pushes it in all around.
The crazy quilt patterns itself on top,
edges loose. She will slip
between the sheets tonight as if she were water.


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