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  • Their bed was an ocean.
    You were swallowed
    by our father’s side,
    limp and spring-less,
    bobbing up for a breath,
    a glimpse of TV.
    I floated atop the firmer side,
    mother’s half,
    a plywood board beneath.
    Blame the paint,
    a cheerless Butter,
    or the thin walls
    eroded by neighbors’ shrieks.

    Blame poverty, sibling rivalry,
    or the television,
    grey and perverse.
    I was just a child.

    You didn’t faint or bleed
    when I knocked your head
    against their headboard twice,
    four times, five.
    You didn’t tell.
    You didn’t say a word
    when the door closed
    on your hand
    twenty years ago.
    You didn’t say a word.

    We’re grown now,
    you a successful dental hygienist
    and I a designer.
    You’ll be working on my teeth
    next month, scaling, root planing.
    I lend you my expensive velvet dress
    and hope all is forgiven.
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