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August 10, 2021

Long Distance

Jane Zwart

Once my mom and I fought
about the distance to Ann Arbor.
It is not the city where my brother
died. It is the city where a hospital
failed to scrape or poison or radiate
his small body back to health. 
And that was enough. My mom
stopped thinking of that city
as an acceptable place. I did not.
We fought.
                        Neither of us
would believe small things hung
in the balance. I was desperate
to hear plaintive music and, more,
to outsmart my mother like I would
a garage door, pushing a button
and dancing out of range, over
her shelter’s failsafes. My mom
was desperate to keep me from dying.

We fought in my childhood bedroom.
I remember her face, her fury.

. . .

This afternoon I scolded my son away
from Mount Major’s steep places. I knew
I was embarrassing. I did not care.

I have come to the edge of myself
and here can see how some furies
are also love. And how love, where
everything hangs in the balance,
can think of this as an acceptable trade:
Despise me, but survive.