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Amanda Crum – The Exchange
My Body is the kind that doesn’t know a good thing when she has it:
fair skin without lines, thick sheaf of hair
without silver threads. She is ruthless,
sometimes precognitive in dreams: when the blood came
she made sure I saw it first in sleep. Now that it’s gone,
she sends me phantom-limb images of scarlet wings on cotton,
as though she can’t quite believe it will never come back.
In my youth I was unkind to her.
I fed her sugar and honey with nothing substantial,
I kept her awake for days and berated her
when she had the audacity
to feel weak.
I handed her over to people who mistreated her.
I had always wanted to be a mother but I never saw
what a dreadful caregiver I could be.
I couldn’t even give her water
when her very bones were dry.
Now I want better for her.
With age comes the wisdom that her failings are my own
so I check in every day,
keep her hydrated,
pet her cheek
and whisper that everything will be okay.
I tell her I’m proud of her and what I would do for her--
even give up sugar and honey
for an offering of blood.