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I stretch beside a bed
too big for one, heat water twice
to stand longer by the counter,
sweep the floor and step
on strands of hair
that cling to the broom, mop the floor,
fold his shirts, fingers pinching
the fabric to define the lines,
rearrange the furniture—
desk now by the window;
no need to flick the lights on
in afternoons pretending
to read or write, observing shadows
pass over the wood, the sheet
and consume the pencil;
my back away from the door he'll unlock.

He'll hold me. I'll lose
the need to tell him
soot was scrubbed out; there
on the rug he bought, I slipped.

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