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I remember what my mother’s
handwriting meant to me before
I knew how to read, the way
her hand would move,
the swishing sound of her
right wrist shifting against
the paper as she wrote.

Sometimes, I would fall asleep
to typing so distinct, the sounds
her fingers made entangled with
outside rain as they both tried to
say something enter-enter-backspace,
yet my mother’s hands fascinated me
more as they created clusters of
letters on a humming monitor and
she’d churn her words until the
diction was thick enough to spread
across the entire screen, at a time
when words were only sounds
I knew how to make or make of.

I was five and she was a
coalescent tone and tempo,
(her laugh against the clink of
her keys
as they’d hang from her
hand and tease her heel-toe
beat)
and she was her skins, her
bones, a body called Mom by
my eyes and my ears alike, as
different means to identify
the same proper noun.

my eyes get caught on the voids of
where she used to be, spaces I can’t
patch: my father’s naked ring finger,
her side of the bed, the dead silence
that rings in my ears—I can’t rub it out.
Enter-enter-backspace what I am trying
to say aloud.

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