envy (for my mother)

she puts a needle-sharp word to my tendon
and my wrist twitches. a few carefully aimed
stabs and i am moving not of my own accord.
she knows how to throw the acid of guilt over
my musculature to make me do what she wants,
how to twist bone just to the point of snapping
how to make me smile and nod, smile and nod
how, at this point, i yearn for strings,
just because it wouldn’t be so painful.

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