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  • Jimmy Broccoli


My mother cleans when she’s sad

Our tables have no dust

The windows have no streaks

The carpet, step lightly, there must be no ware

Tears gently run down her face

For angelic bathtubs. No mildew. No stains

I scrub away my melancholy

And sweep away my loneliness, like dust bunnies

I’ve decided not to cry today

I’m a lot like my mother

But I’m lazy and messy and a disappointment

We – my family – we mostly keep to ourselves

My father reads the newspaper

My mother fumbles with the hobbies she despises

I wear headphones like skin

My sister drowned 3 years ago

She liked to ride her bike

Our backyard pool stole her breath

The bubbles floated to the surface

Until they didn’t

My mother doesn’t look away anymore

And we don’t talk about it

Through my open window I hear –

Someone speaking then someone else laughing

I remember smiling and thinking happy thoughts

Some friends thought my jokes were funny

I shut my bedroom window

Because that is the past

I do not laugh anymore

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