In winter, I began to learn
a new way of loving. 

I watched the bulbs’ necks 
broken by alternating 

heat and ice and did not 
avert my gaze.  

No longer able to take
the light as given, I cut

holes in the ceiling, 
warmed a box of chicks 

with a lamp red
as motherfear, something

close enough to protection. 
For my family, the loaves 

I baked were sorrow-
laden, dough 

like mud that clung 
to my skin. Don’t touch it, 

I told the babies, their faces 
half-hidden by masks 

of cotton. We must, at least, 
keep your hands clean. 
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