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Spitting Image

I share my mother’s cuticles,

her calloused hands and round knuckles that crack

every morning like chimes on a clock.

I carry my mother’s ankles around

under the cuffs of my jeans;

I lug the weight of her full-bodied torso,

stuffed with arteries and bones and vessels

filled with blood to keep the whole thing


I have my mother’s varicose veins,

her webbed wrinkles,

the lines on her cheeks.

I bear the bumpy skin at the base of her wrist

where a sweater rubbed its wiry wool

against her pale skin there.

Her cheeks patch up red

as the blood under her skin blooms

in splotchy watercolor art—

she gave me her face for a canvas.

I open my mouth to speak

and her words spill out like

gravel and wet sand

between my lips.

I feel her in every notch

of our spine.

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