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First Anniversary 

Your heart is about the size of your two hands clasped together.
—Cleveland Clinic

Two billion heartbeats in a lifetime,
but you didn't get all of yours, neighbor.

Same white dog in the window,
snow-covered sidewalks, powdered-sugar pines.

I glimpse their rituals return next door—
she attends the spring dance in a new dress;

he carries a full course load.
Your children toss a football

across our autumn lawns,
string Christmas lights,

clasp each other's hands.
On difficult days we meet

at the makeshift altar
on my kitchen windowsill—

your warm face on a Mass card
tucked behind the farmer's sink.

You whisper all that truly matters,
Be a good mother. Be a good mother.

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