I never told my mother
how much her presents help;
out of retired poverty
she sends me bars of Dove soap,
candies in sandwich bags

I remember the pin curls,
sitting in front of her on the floor
as she whipped my hair into corkscrews
I'm, in the morning, Shirley Temple
feeling rich

She was my best friend with Scrabble
with buttons and books,
boxes of stamps in her junkstore window
her big earrings and dyed roots

Yesterday I heard a hint
of her creaky singing Mass
voice
Stations of the Cross
and Christmas

She sends me teddy bears
and every year
I throw them away
she never did know me,
or let my feet touch the floor
until I was two

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