First Day of School
Lyn Lifshin

my mother in the doorway
getting smaller as she would,
a kite burning my palm
as the wind jolts it from
me, a thud in my belly
that even at six wasn’t
flat as I’d like it to be.
Mrs. Butterfield, a ship
that could take me where
my mother wouldn’t go
like a flotilla of lovers,
steaming closer as if she
could block what I was
leaving behind, my mother
in a worn coat already
counting the hours


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