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of Thu Nguyen reading “Proximity.”
This is a house warmed with worry,
and still, he’s cold all the time under his knit cap and gloves.
She has to put his socks on for him, one at a time,
slip them on in a way that pretends he still has dignity,
that he doesn’t want to just run out the doors,
shirtless and deep brown, and not as tired as he is now.
I have come home to witness this, to pretend
that I can’t see how he is not himself anymore.
We come home because so much meaning
has to do with proximity:
When I was younger, it was too much—unbearable—
the kind of love that makes you move out when you are seventeen.
But now, I think, no one else will ever worry if I am working
too much or too hard, if I leave early in the morning, in the cold dark.
Who will tell me if I am raising the kind of kids who will come home
when I need them, to warm me, to bear witness to me?
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 4.
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