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they wrapped their lives in newsprint and buried them in the garden.

there was no time for funerals;

they left their mother’s silver, wedding rings, baby photos in unconsecrated ground.

she cried as she knotted her earrings into handkerchiefs and slid them into the shoebox,

above the dog-eared family photos and her marriage license,

and when she put the lid on she shut her sadness inside with the chattel of her life

and buried it all six feet under.

she is an old woman when she kneels again in that garden,

not in years but in the lines of her skin, the ache of her bones,

and the distance between then and now.

when she opens the box she sees the pieces of another woman,

not her at all.

it is that woman, not herself, that she cries for

when she unknots the handkerchiefs

and the sadness and the earrings spill out together.

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